Dr. Chu’s research focuses on 3 main areas: mechanisms of physiologic adaptations to chronic opioid exposure, innovation in medical education, and a recent new focus on patient-centered innovation in clinical research and quality improvement.
Mechanisms of physiologic adaptations to chronic opioid exposure
Opioids are the cornerstone medication for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Analgesic tolerance, physical dependence and opioid-induced hyperalgesia are known sequelae of chronic opioid exposure that may complicate the use of opioid analgesic drugs for the treatment of chronic painful conditions.
Dr. Chu’s work in this area spans nearly 10 years and has resulted in numerous publications that have examined changes in pain sensitivity and the central nervous system in humans associated with chronic opioid exposure. Dr. Chu’s work has been supported by RO1 and KO2 research grants from the National Institutes of Health. His most recent publication in this field is:
Lin JC, Chu LF, Stringer EA, Baker KS, Sayyid ZN, Sun J, Campbell KA, Younger JW. One month of oral morphine decreases gray matter volume in the right amygdala of individuals with low back pain: confirmation of previously reported Magnetic Resonance Imaging results. Pain Medicine, 2015 Dec 26; 0: 1-8.
Dr. Chu was the senior author of this paper, in which decreased gray matter volume was observed in several reward- and pain-related regions in the morphine group, including the bilateral amygdala, left inferior orbitofrontal cortex, and bilateral pre-supplementary motor areas.
Innovation in Medical Education
As founder and Director of the Stanford Anesthesia Informatics and Media lab, Dr. Chu has an international reputation as a leader in medical education innovation. He has conducted seminal work in understanding the unique learning needs of millennial postgraduate anesthesiology learners and used this knowledge to create blended and online learning for anesthesiology residents. Dr. Chu’s educational programs (START, STARTprep, and Learnly) are used by 40% of all anesthesiology residents in the United States and many more around the globe.
Dr. Chu also conducted seminal design work in co-creating the Stanford Emergency Manual, which is a book of emergency aid checklists used by anesthesiologists worldwide. Dr. Chu developed a productive collaboration with Stanford computer scientists to scientifically study the role of design in effective use and implementation of dynamic computer-generated emergency aids. Dr. Chu also founded and directs the world’s most-discussed academic conference on the future of medical education: Medicine X | ED. Dr. Chu’s scholarship in medical education has been published in leading medical journals. One of his many publications in this field is:
Lighthall G, Harrison TK, Chu LF. Laryngeal Mask Airway in Medical Emergencies. New England Journal of Medicine.2013; 369 (20)
Dr. Chu was the senior author of this paper, which demonstrates the use of mask airways for the ventilation of patients in cardiac arrest using both video and text.
Patient-centered Research in Clinical Research and Quality Improvement
In 2011, Dr. Chu founded Stanford Medicine X, the world’s most-discussed academic medical conference. This conference, now a year-round academic program at Stanford, focuses on innovation in medicine at the intersection of emerging technologies and patient-centered care.
Dr. Chu has an international reputation as a health care innovator and is frequently invited to give talks on the role of emerging technology, precision medicine, and patient-centered care at medical conferences worldwide. The Stanford Medicine X conference reaches over 5,500,000 individuals in 60 countries around the world. This global community closely follows the innovative work and Everyone Included™ co-creation and leadership models for working with patients that Dr. Chu has established through his groundbreaking work at Medicine X. Dr. Chu received an R13 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality to establish Medicine X at Stanford. Under his leadership, the program has developed scholarship in engaging and bringing patients into academic medicine to help improve clinical research and quality. In recognition of Dr. Chu’s international stature in this new field, he was recently appointed to the editorial board of The BMJ. Furthermore, his most recent article in this field has been accepted at The BMJ:
Everyone Included: moving beyond patients included. Chu LF, Utengen A, Kadry B, Kucharski SE, Campos H, Crockett J, Dawson N, Clauson K. Provisional acceptance, submission in revision. The British Medical Journal; 2016.
Here, Dr. Chu describes the importance of patient involvement in academic medical conferences and how meaningful participation from everyone will be required in order to improve the health care industry. The Everyone Included model, developed by Dr. Chu, is increasingly influencing policy and academic medicine. For example, 3 of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative patient research design principles derived directly from Stanford Medicine X and Dr. Chu’s Everyone Included co-creation principles.