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Paul A. Pirraglia Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. Pirraglia attended Johns Hopkins University, and graduated with a major in Psychology and a minor in the Writing Seminars. He received his medical degree with Honors in Research from Cornell University Medical College in 1998. He did his residency training in General Internal Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University. He then completed a General Medicine fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and received an MPH from Harvard School of Public Health. He joined the faculty of Brown University in 2003. His primary clinical and research site is the Providence VA Medical Center. His research focuses on the interaction of mental health conditions with chronic medical illness.

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work

Witt WP, Fortuna, L, Wu E, Kahn RS, Winickoff JP, Pirraglia PA, Ferris TG, Kuhlthau K. Children's use of motor vehicle restraints: maternal psychological distress, maternal motor vehicle restraint practices, and sociodemographics. Ambulatory Pediatrics. In press.

Pirraglia PA, Charbonneau A, Kader B, Berlowitz DR. Adequate initial antidepressant treatment among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in a cohort of depressed veterans. The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. In press.

Stein M, Herman DS, Trisvan E, Pirraglia P, Engler P, Anderson BJ. Alcohol use and sexual risk behavior among human immunodeficiency virus-positive persons. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 29(5):837-843, 2005.

Pirraglia PA, Bishop D, Herman D, Trisvan E, Lopez RA, Torgersen CS, Van Hof AM, Anderson BJ, Miller I, Stein MD. Caregiver burden and depression among informal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals. Journal of General Internal Medicine,20(6):510-514, 2005.

Pirraglia PA, Rosen AB, Hermann RC, Olchanski NV, Neumann P. Cost-utility analysis studies of depression management: a systematic review. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(12): 2155-2162, 2004.

Pirraglia PA, Sanyal P, Singer DE, Ferris TG. Depressive symptom burden as a barrier to screening for breast and cervical cancer. Journal of Women's Health, 13(6):731-738, 2004.

Grant RW, Pirraglia PA, Meigs J, Singer DE. Trends in complexity of care in the United States from 1991 to 2000 for patients with diabetes. Archives of Internal Medicine 164:1134-1139, 2004.

Pirraglia PA, Stafford RS, Singer DE. Trends in prescribing of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other newer antidepressant agents in adult primary care. The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 5:153-157, 2003.

Pirraglia PA, Peterson JC, Williams-Russo P, Charlson ME. Assessment of decline in health-related quality of life among angina-free patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. Cardiology 99(3):115-120, 2003 .

Peterson JC, Charlson ME, Williams-Russo P, Krieger KH, Pirraglia PA, Meyers BS, Alexopoulos GS. New post-operative depressive symptoms predict long-term cardiac outcomes after coronary artery bypass surgery. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 10:192-198, 2002.

Pirraglia PA, Peterson JC, Williams-Russo P, Gorkin L, Charlson ME. Depressive symptomatology in coronary artery bypass graft surgery patients. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14: 662-667, 1999.

Pirraglia PA, Peterson JC, Hartman GS, Yao FSF, Thomas SJ, Charlson ME. The efficacy and safety of a pharmacologic protocol for maintaining coronary artery bypass patients at a higher mean arterial pressure during cardiopulmonary bypass. Journal of Extracorporeal Technology 30(2): 64-72, 1998.

Hollenberg JP, Pirraglia PA, Williams-Russo P, Hartman GS, Gold JP, Yao FSF, Thomas SJ. Computerized data collection in the operating room during coronary artery bypass surgery: a comparison to the hand-written anesthesia record. Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia 11(5): 545-551, 1997.

Gold JP, Charlson ME, Krieger KH, Williams-Russo P, Szatrowski TP, Peterson JC, Pirraglia PA, Hartman GS, Yao FSF, Hollenberg JP, Barbut D, Hayes JG, Thomas SJ, Purcell MH, Mattis S, Gorkin L, Post M, Krieger KH, Isom OW. Improvement of outcomes after coronary artery bypass: a randomized trial comparing high versus low mean arterial pressure. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 110: 1302-1314, 1995.

Rolls BJ, Pirraglia PA, Jones MB, Peters JC. Effects of olestra, a noncaloric fat substitute on daily energy and fat intakes in lean men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56: 84-92, 1992.

research overview

Dr. Pirraglia researches the impact of depression and anxiety on chronic medical illness. His current work includes examining antidepressant prescribing using large databases, developing a collaborative care intervention for depression and anxiety in veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and investigating the impact of chronic medical illness on patients with bipolar disorder.

research statement

Dr. Pirraglia researches the impact of depression and anxiety on chronic medical illness. His current work includes developing a collaborative care intervention for depression and anxiety in veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, examining the impact of depressive symptoms on chronic medical disease management programs, and investigating the impact of chronic medical illness on patients with bipolar disorder.
For his VA Research Career Development Award, he is starting with doing a qualitative study of veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to explore the experiences, perceptions, needs, and preferences of veterans with COPD patients regarding depression and anxiety, to better understand the interaction of depression and anxiety with COPD, and to refine conceptual models describing the interaction of depression and anxiety with COPD. This work will help determine which interventions for depression and/or anxiety in veterans with COPD are most likely to be accepted by these patients. The second phase of this program is to use the results of the qualitative study to direct the construction of a collaborative care intervention for depression/anxiety in veterans with COPD. Much of this effort will be towards focusing previously effective techniques on this population. Ultimately, three stages of deployment will carry this work forward: Stage I) pilot testing in an open trial for feasibility and to refine the intervention, Stage II) local randomized trial of efficacy, and Stage III) the investigation of transportability and generalizability in a multi-site VA Cooperative Study. The primary product of this program will be the treatment manual for Stage I wherein the components of the intervention are developed and a collaborative care model structure that can be applied to a local open trial are established.

funded research

Veteran's Affairs Health Services Research & Development Research Career Development Award, Depression and Anxiety in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, $462,206, 10/16/2005 – 10/15/2008
RI Foundation Grant, Experiences, Perceptions, Needs, and Preferences of COPD Patients Regarding Depression and Anxiety, $5,110, 1/26/2006 – 1/25/2007