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Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Approved for Funding for Stress Urinary Incontinence Project

July 27, 2021

SEATTLE – Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH)’s Una Lee, MD (Urology) and On Ho, PhD (Research and Academics), in partnership with the University of WashingtonKaiser, and the National Association for Continence, have been approved for a $249,978 award through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington Engagement Awards program. The funds will support the project “Engaging and Amplifying Women’s Voices in Stress Urinary Incontinence Research Prioritization.”

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) affects 38 percent of women and costs $12 billion annually in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of women undergoing surgery each year. The project aims to build capacity to study the surgical management of SUI by establishing a diverse national SUI patient network, training patient partners to participate in research, and engaging patients in identifying and prioritizing patient-centered research questions.

“The significance of this work is that the patients’ voices and input will be incorporated throughout the project, a critical piece for improving patient-centered care,” said Dr. Lee. “Women with SUI will have a platform to share feedback through crowdsourcing, surveys, interactive webinars, focus groups, and other meetings.”

Partners in this project also include caregivers, urologists/urogynecologists, nurses, researchers, and non-clinical individuals from industry, insurance, regulatory agencies, professional organizations, and health systems. Together, patient and stakeholder partners will be involved in synthesizing patient feedback and data to inform next steps for collaborative patient-centered outcomes research in SUI.

“This project was selected for Engagement Award funding because it will build a community equipped to participate as partners in comparative clinical effectiveness research and develop partnerships and infrastructure to disseminate PCORI-funded research results,” said Greg Martin, PCORI’s Acting Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions.

About Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is an integrated health system serving the Puget Sound region of Washington state, offering access to some of the country’s most prestigious experts and hospitals that are internationally known for superior quality. With a team of 18,000 team members, including nearly 5,000 employed physicians and affiliated providers, we unite the brightest health care minds in the region to provide world-class clinical excellence at 11 hospitals and nearly 300 sites of care throughout the Puget Sound area. We are proud to be the home of Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS, and Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research. We embrace our community’s uniquely vibrant, active culture by providing holistic, personalized and patient-centered care. We are committed to caring for the most vulnerable in our communities, including the poor and underserved, providing more than $300 million in community benefit – free, subsidized, and reduced cost health care and programs.

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health was formed in 2021 by bringing together two leading health systems in Washington state. Our family of hospitals includes Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle; St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; St. Michael Medical Center, Silverdale and Bremerton; St. Anne Hospital, Burien; Rehabilitation Hospital, Tacoma; and Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, Tacoma. Learn more at