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$45 Million Earmarked for Research on Strategies for Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

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Press Release Date: November 9, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced funding for a major new research initiative that will improve knowledge of the factors underlying ethnic and racial inequities in health care, the EXCEED (Excellence Centers to Eliminate Ethnic/Racial Disparities) initiative. The studies also will help identify practical tools and strategies to eliminate these disparities. The nine new research projects will be funded by AHRQ in partnership with the Office of Research on Minority Health and the National Cancer Institute. Each project will consist of a group of four to seven studies organized around a central theme.

"Life expectancy and overall health have improved for many Americans, but too many racial and ethnic minorities still suffer disproportionately from diabetes, cancer, and other diseases," says John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHRQ director. "Through research partnerships like these, we can expand the magnitude of our efforts to ensure that all Americans receive high quality health care services."

Funding for these new projects is anticipated to total $45.0 million over a 5-year period. The newly funded projects are:

  • Racial and Ethnic Variation in Medical Interactions. Principal investigator: Carol M. Ashton, M.D., M.P.H. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Total Projected Funding: $7,813,750; Project Period: 9/27/00-8/31/05.

    The researchers will assess the extent to which problems in doctor-patient communication contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in health care use. Six projects and three cores will be used to achieve four major objectives: improving our understanding of the etiologies of disparities, identifying interventions that can reduce disparities, disseminating information to patients, communities and health care providers, and building capacity for future minority health services research.

  • Overcoming Racial Health Disparities. Principal investigator: Timothy S. Carey, M.D., M.P.H. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Total Projected Funding: $1,273,224. Project Period: 9/15/00-8/31/05.

    These researchers will establish a center of excellence on overcoming racial health disparities in African American adults, particularly in rural settings. They will collaborate with two historically black colleges and universities during the project.

  • Improving the Delivery of Effective Care to Minorities. Principal investigator: Mark R. Chassin, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY. Total Projected Funding: $7,333,543. Project Period: 9/13/00-8/31/05.

    The goal of this research project is to measure the underuse in Harlem of selected medical and surgical interventions that are known to be effective. The researchers will assess the reasons for the underuse and develop, implement, and evaluate ways to eliminate the underuse when appropriate.

  • Understanding and Reducing Native Elder Health Disparities. Principal investigator: Spero M. Manson, Ph.D. University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO. Total Projected Funding: $6,210,077. Project Period: 9/30/00-9/29/05.

    Four health issues of particular importance to elderly American Indians and Alaska Natives will be addressed. They are: the quality of care for diabetes, the delivery of clinical preventive services (such as immunizations for influenza and pneumonia), cancer screening, and smoking cessation.

  • Access and Quality of Care for Vulnerable Black Populations. Principal investigator: Robert M. Mayberry, M.S., M.P.H., Ph.D. Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Total Projected Funding: $2,128,225. Project Period: 9/15/00-8/31/05.

    The researchers will explore ways to improve health care access and quality for vulnerable African Americans, particularly adults who are chronically ill and low-income children. Their goal is to identify opportunities to intervene and effective interventions to address disparities in access and quality.

  • Health Disparities in Minority Adult Americans. Principal investigator: Edmund M. Ricci, Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Total Projected Funding: $1,273,224. Project Period: 9/25/00-8/31/05.

    The goal of this project is to address differences between white and minority elderly populations in health status and the use of health services. It combines community linkages with academic resources to focus on health care for African Americans through effective communication and culturally sensitive health care.

  • UCLA/DREW/RAND Program to Address Disparities in Health. Principal investigator: Martin F. Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Total Projected Funding: $1,273,225. Project Period: 9/01/00-8/31/05.

    In this collaborative project, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, Drew University, and RAND, will establish a multidisciplinary program to address racial and ethnic disparities in health. Their goal is to enhance understanding of the factors that influence health care use and behavior. They will use an integrated model to identify the principal factors responsible for disparities and test randomized interventions to address those factors. A major goal is to increase the capacity for health services research on health disparities.

  • Understanding and Eliminating Health Disparities in Blacks. Principal investigator: Barbara Tilley, M.S., Ph.D. Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Total Projected Funding: $10,125,420. Project Period: 9/21/00-8/31/05.

    The goal of this project is to identify solutions to known disparities in health status between African Americans and whites living in South Carolina, including those in rural areas. The researchers will focus on interventions related to providers and provider/patient interactions.

  • Promoting Effective Communication and Decision Making For Diverse Populations. Principal investigator: Eugene A. Washington, M.D., M.Sc. University of California, San Francisco, CA; Total Projected Funding: $7,672,925. Project Period: 9/27/00-8/31/05.

    The researchers will assess ways to promote effective communication and decisionmaking in diverse populations. They hypothesize that racial and ethnic disparities in health may be related to less effective communication and decisionmaking skills in minorities compared with whites, which may lead to differences in the technical process of care that affect outcomes.

The Clinton-Gore Administration has developed and implemented a number of strategies to improve the health of minority populations and help close unacceptable health gaps. These strategies include a coordinated effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health gaps in six areas by the year 2010, enhanced resources for fighting HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities, and the formation of a number of special work groups to review health status, determine research needs, and develop strategies that help improve minority health.

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.

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