Mary Politi, PhD

Mary PolitiAssistant Professor
Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
(314) 747-1967

Research Overview
Dr. Politi is a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in the Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Politi’s research program focuses on using systematic methods to help patients and clinicians work through the uncertainties of health decisions through developing and evaluating decision tools, examining techniques to aid clinical discussions about health decisions, and exploring ways to improve communication about risks. Her research also investigates the influence of numeracy and health literacy on medical decision-making.

Dr. Politi co-teaches a course in the Master of Population Health Sciences program with Dr. Kimberly Kaphingst entitled “Principles of Shared Decision Making and Health Literacy in the Clinical Setting."

Research Staff
Carey Kebodeaux, Senior Public Health Research Technician
Hannah Perkins, MSc, Public Health Research Technician
Marie Kuzemchak, Student Research Assistant
Karishma Furtado, Graduate Student Research Assistant
Denise Monti, Student Research Assistant
Norah Rast, Student Research Assistant
Ana Rivera, Medical Student Research Assistant


Active Projects:

Merck Health Literacy/Diversity/Adherence MISP Submission (Politi: PI)                                  
1/1/14 – 12/31/15

A Mixed Methods Study to Reduce Disparities in Cancer Clinical Trials by Adapting a Health Literacy Intervention for Informed Consent and Comparing it to Usual Care in a Randomized Experiment: The goal of this project is to address disparities in cancer clinical trials through implementing an evidence-based decision aid that prepares patients for cancer clinical trials participation. We will test the effects of this tool compared to a usual care website about cancer clinical trials examining key patient-centered outcomes.
Role: Principal Investigator 

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI; Woolf: PI)              
Understanding Patient Preferences for Informed Decision-Making: This project will engage stakeholders to devise a technological solution that will both assess and facilitate patients’ preferred decision-making styles. The involvement of primary care practices in this project will allow for a novel evaluation of how this approach affects the patient’s experience in the clinical encounter.
Role: Expert Advisor and Consultant

R21-HS020309-01(Politi: PI)
4/2/12 – 3/31/14
Effective Communication to Improve Decision Making about Health Care Plans: The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate strategies to maximize understanding and ability to compare health care plan information among currently uninsured individuals who will be new to the health care system when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is implemented.
Role: Principal Investigator