Dr. Tighe receives NIA grant to extend PeCAN to socially vulnerable adults

Partick Tighe, MD, MS

Patrick Tighe, M.D., M.S., associate professor of anesthesiology, has earned a K07 leadership grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will support Tighe’s work to reduce disparities in postoperative outcomes among older adult surgical patients, including those with Alzheimer disease and related dementias.

Regional social inequalities contribute to differences in outcomes, particularly postoperative pain and cognitive decline. Tighe’s goal is to use geospatial data, social determinants of health, and artificial intelligence to understand how these inequalities impact perioperative outcomes. These inequalities stem from a wide range of sources including household income, insurance types, unemployment rates, educational level, access to health-related resources, and other factors.

The project will accomplish these aims by promoting community and institutional awareness of social vulnerabilities. Tighe plans to expand the infrastructure of the Perioperative Cognitive Anesthesia Network (PeCAN), where he serves as co-director. The Perioperative Cognitive Anesthesia Network-Social Vulnerability (PeCANSV) will have new training for interdisciplinary teams of researchers. 

The work is particularly important given the increasing numbers of older adults who require surgery with anesthesia.

“I’m very grateful to work with such a phenomenal team of colleagues and advisers from across the university,” Tighe said. “The AI Initiative has brought forth incredible opportunities for education and research at UF, but to fully realize its potential, we will need to keep building on UF Health’s incredible culture of collaboration.”

The K07 NIA Academic Career Leadership award is given to an established researcher who is a leader in their research field. The award provides the researcher with time and funding to build an area or subfield of research on aging.

Tighe, who is also the Donn M. Dennis, M.D., Professor of Anesthetic Innovation and an associate professor of orthopaedics and information systems and operations management, brings a wealth of experience to the project. He has clinical expertise in regional anesthesia and orthopedic surgery, as well as research experience in machine learning, geospatial disparities, and perioperative pain and cognition.

Congratulations, Dr. Tighe!