Skip to main content

Congratulations to Katherine Chan, MD, MPH who has received a 2022 UNC Caregivers at Carolina Program Award. This award will further support Dr. Chan’s ongoing research in hypospadias care.

“I am extremely grateful to the UNC Caregivers at Carolina Program for supporting the development of the first bilingual, culturally tailored decision aid in pediatric urology. This work will promote equitable implementation of decision support tools for the diverse families we serve. “

Katherine Chan, MD, MPH
Director of the Pediatric Kidney Stone Clinic
Director of Pediatric Urology Research
Associate Professor of Urology

Katherine Hubert Chan, MD


About Dr. Chan’s Project

Hypospadias, a urethral opening on the underside of the penis, is one of the most common birth defects in boys (1 in 250 newborns). Left untreated, hypospadias may affect quality of life, cosmetic appearance, urination, sexual function, and fertility. Currently, parents must make important, preference-sensitive treatment decisions despite absence of evidence-based guidance or a clearly superior option. Consequently, 55-71 % of parents experience decisional regret regardless of whether they choose surgery for their child which is strongly associated with preoperative decisional conflict. Our team aims to reduce parental decisional conflict and regret by improving information delivery through use of a shared decision-making (SDM) tool called the Hypospadias Hub. The Hub is a parent-centered, web-based tool designed to promote values-based, informed decisions in hypospadias care.

Dr. Chan’s team recently began culturally adapting the Hub’s intervention for Hispanic/Latino, Spanish-speaking parents, and the award from the Caregivers at Carolina Program will further support this effort to enhance and maximize recruitment, retention, and efficacy across diverse patient populations.

“Our process includes key informant interviews with Hispanic/Latino-focused healthcare providers, refinement, Spanish translation and usability testing with Hispanic/Latino Spanish-speaking parents. Our goal is to create a culturally appropriate version of the Hub for Hispanic/Latino Spanish-speaking parents.”

Katherine Chan, MD, MPH


The next steps for Dr. Chan and her team include the submission of a multi-site R01 application in June 2022 to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for testing the efficacy of the Hypospadias Hub intervention using a randomized controlled trials to improve parental involvement in decision-making and decision quality for parents in hypospadias care.

Long term, Dr. Chan hopes that future studies will scale up the Hub’s intervention to multiple sites across the country to better understand its implementation processes across various clinical settings.

Ultimately, evidence of the Hypospadias Hub’s efficacy will have far-reaching implications across many other preference-sensitive decisions in pediatric urology and other pediatric subspecialities which will improve child health and quality of life. This work will provide a methodological roadmap for the development of numerous decision support tools for pediatric surgical conditions.

About Caregivers at Carolina

In 2016, the UNC School of Medicine was one of only 10 academic medical schools in the country to receive funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to develop an experimental program designed to retain physician scientists in research who are facing substantial caregiving demands at home. The program at UNC was named Caregivers at Carolina and is directed by Amelia F. Drake, MD, FACS, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and Susan Girdler, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chair of Faculty Development.

The Caregivers at Carolina (“Caregivers”) program was a result of that funding and has gone on to support early career physician scientists whose research productivity has been impacted by increased family caregiving responsibilities including those as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides supplemental research funds to support a research technician or to “buy-out” the clinical time of the awardee.

In 2020 the Caregivers program submitted a competitive renewal to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and was one of the few institutions that received an additional three years of funding extending through FY 2023.