Managing Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Meghan Brennan, MD, MS, is an infectious disease physician whose research focuses on diabetic foot ulcers and health disparities. 

Her overall goal is to develop novel health system interventions that reduce major amputations among patients with diabetes, particularly those in rural areas.

Portrait of Dr. Meghan Brennan

Rural Disparities for Patients With Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Patients with diabetic foot ulcers in rural areas face 50 percent higher odds of major (above-ankle) amputation and 40 percent higher odds of death when compared to their urban counterparts. It isn’t clear why this disparity exists, although limited access to urban specialists (e.g. infectious disease specialists, vascular surgeons) is a factor.

Dr. Brennan is interested in using quantitative and qualitative methodology to explore this urban-rural disparity, and working alongside rural stakeholders to develop and test interventions to reduce major amputation rates.

Research Team

Senior Research Specialist

Active Projects

Adjuvant Rifampin for Osteomyelitis Complicating Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Adding rifampin to a backbone antibiotic regimen to treat osteomyelitis in patients with diabetic foot ulcers may improve outcomes. Dr. Brennan is part of a national team conducting a randomized control trial answering this question (VA INTREPID trial).

Predicting Wound Healing Based Upon the Microbiome

Dr. Brennan is collaborating with Dr. Lindsay Kalan, a microbiologist, to identify predictors of healing based on the wound microbiome, including microbiome composition, microorganism-microrganism interactions, and host-microorganism interactions. They are using a prospective cohort design and next generation sequencing to answer these questions.

Crossing the Divide

Dr. Brennan is working with rural health clinics throughout Wisconsin to pilot an integrated care model that facilitates collaboration across the rural-urban divide for patients with diabetic foot ulcers.

Funding Support

Dr. Brennan's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and a Department of Medicine Medical Education Innovation grant.

A female clinician in blue scrubs touches the shoulder of a male colleauge in a white coat while walking in the hospital hallway

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