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Research & Healthcare Studies

Research in healthcare studies examines the health policies, organization, delivery and financing of healthcare, from the perspectives of patients, caregivers, providers and managers to improve the quality, outcomes and the economy of care. Specifically, healthcare studies is interested in evaluations of the structure, processes and outcomes of care, including issues of patient safety and equity. Healthcare studies also is concerned with system-level outcomes, such as assessments of health policy, cost and access, as well as effective ways to translate clinical knowledge into practice. The underlying objective of healthcare studies is to understand and improve clinical decision-making and care, inform patients, evaluate changes in the healthcare system and inform local, state and national policymaking.


Dustin D. French, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Northwestern University and a senior scientist at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Health Services Research and Development group. French received a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University in 1996. Subsequently, he received his master's degree and PhD from The Ohio State University in 1997 and 2001 in economics and environmental economics, respectively. He then pursued a three-year training program in the Veterans Health Administration in health economics and outcomes research at the James A. Haley VA hospital Tampa, Florida, and the Veterans Integrated Service Network 8, Bay Pines, Florida. Thereafter, he became a VA investigator focusing on medication safety and health outcomes around ophthalmic and veteran-related health issues. In 2008, French was appointed as a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute Inc., assistant professor in the Indiana University School of Medicine and investigator in the Roudebush VA hospital in Indianapolis. While in Indianapolis, he focused on broader applied clinical health informatics issues around research uses and design with the electronic medical record.   


French’s research uses health information systems for outcomes and cost studies. He has been involved in the general content/methodological areas of health informatics, pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety, access to care, comparative and cost effectiveness. His research has investigated medication-associated visual problems, such as amantadine and corneal edema, ischemic optic neuropathy and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents and short-term mortality. He has also investigated cataract surgery access to care and various epidemiological relationships, such as ocular hospitalizations in Medicare beneficiaries and ischemic stroke risk in Medicare beneficiaries with central retinal artery occlusion. French is investigating social determinants of health and access to eye care in underserved areas of Chicago. This includes effective screening and implementation strategies for reducing vision threating diabetic retinopathy in low-income, underserved areas. French has received funding from the National Eye Institute and the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness. He is an appointed board member of the VA’s Mental and Behavioral Health study section and routinely reviews for various sections of the National Institutes of Health. French teaches in the Northwestern Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program and mentors ophthalmology residents and medical students across the Chicago campus. 

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