Kitty S. Chan, PhD, is the Scientific Director of MedStar-Georgetown Surgical Outcomes Research. In this position, Dr. Chan is responsible for advancing surgical outcomes research activities across MedStar Health. She also promotes the surgery initiatives of MedStar’s District of Columbia region through grant solicitations, publications, and mentorship.

Dr. Chan is an experienced health services researcher with expertise in outcomes research and measurement and health disparities. She is known for her work in psychometrics and measurement methodology, particularly for the application of item response theory to patient-reported outcomes. Her measurement work has contributed to the availability of numerous validated measures on health-related quality of life, healthcare overuse, team functioning, and mentorship. Her research has also addressed emerging measurement issues, including computerized adaptive testing and the equivalence of health measures across cultures and contexts. 

Dr. Chan’s disparities research has focused on how social determinants of health, including the characteristics of place, influence health and healthcare outcomes. Her work has examined disparities related to patient ethnicity, gender, and language as well as community characteristics, such as residential segregation.   

Dr. Chan has served as principal, co-principal investigator, and co-investigator of numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH)- and foundation-funded projects. She has more than 70 publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, including the American Journal of Public HealthMedical CareMedical Care Research and ReviewAmerican Journal of Managed Care, and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Chan has served on study sections for NIH and Veterans Affairs and is a member of the Education Council at AcademyHealth.

Prior to her appointment at MedStar, Dr. Chan was an Associate Professor with the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she taught graduate-level courses on research methodology. Dr. Chan has advised and mentored more than 25 master’s and PhD-level students and has served as Associate Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s T32 pre-doctoral training program in health services research. Before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, where she maintains an appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor, Dr. Chan was an Associate Policy Researcher with RAND Corporation. 

Dr. Chan received her PhD in health services research from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Research Interests

Dr. Chan’s research interests include the following:

  • Disparities in health and healthcare outcomes
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Psychometrics and item response theory

Selected Research

Why Place Matters

Dr. Chan is the principal investigator for this project funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. This project is designed to examine the role of community characteristics, including rurality and income segregation, on healthcare access and disparities in health outcomes and healthcare utilization.

Reliability and Responsiveness of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) tools in Orthopaedic Trauma Patients

Dr. Chan was the co-principal investigator of this project funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. This project evaluated the psychometric properties of PROMIS tools for orthopaedic trauma patients.

Harmonizing Cognitive Assessment in International Surveys on Aging

Dr. Chan led this work to harmonize measures of cognitive performance and patient functioning across international surveys of aging. The results of this research have been published in the Journal of Aging and Health (2015;27:1392-414; doi: 10.1177/0898264315583054) and the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (2012;67:121-32; doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbr133).

View Dr. Chan’s publications.

Research Areas

  • Health Services/Quality/Outcomes