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$3 Million in Grants Awarded to Help Primary Care Providers Promote Healthy Behaviors Among Their Patients

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Research Innovations Tackle Physical Inactivity, Smoking, Poor Diet, and Risky Drinking Through Practice Redesign

Press Release Date: July 5, 2005

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced today the second round of grants awarded through Prescription for Health: Promoting Health Behaviors in Primary Care Research Networks, an initiative supported by both organizations.The program is aimed at developing effective, practical strategies for changing Americans' unhealthy behaviors through primary care.

Through the Prescription for Health program, primary care practices are concentrating on four leading health risk factors: lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse.The projects are conducted by practice-based research networks (PBRNs)—groups of medical practices that work together to investigate a variety of questions about how health care is managed or delivered.

"This program will continue to advance primary care and further enable patients to lead healthier lives," said John Lumpkin, M.D., RWJF senior vice president and health care group director. "PBRNs are ideal incubators for these projects. While their main purpose is to provide patient care, they affiliate with each other to conduct state-of-the-art research."

"AHRQ is very pleased to partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on these exciting and vitally important projects," said Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., AHRQ's director. "These projects are building the evidence base for primary care strategies to fight four of the greatest health challenges facing this nation: lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse."

During the first phase of Prescription for Health, 17 PBRNs received grants for projects designed to develop creative and practical strategies to improve health behavior counseling that help patients adopt healthier lifestyles. The goal of the second round of funding is to further understand and measure the extent to which more comprehensive health behavior counseling strategies are effective in improving patients' behaviors and result in improved practice. All second round projects will evaluate outcomes using a common set of patient and practice measures, and assess the strategies for reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance.

The 24-month innovation grants are each for $300,000 (select for a list of innovators).

Examples of innovations include:

  • PDA-based assessment of health risks for adolescents with tailored in-office counseling, and follow up through community referrals and Web-based resources.
  • Creation of new types of staff positions, such as a community health educator and referral liaison who will serve as a bridge between the practice, patient, and community in the form of a one-stop-shopping health behavior referral service.
  • Interactive voice response system used to conduct risk assessment and deliver tailored counseling over the phone.
  • Electronic health record prompts for providers with different options for counseling and followup including Web-based, telephone-based, and group visits.
  • Reframing the 2-year-old well-child visit to focus on family lifestyle risk assessment and behavior change for the entire family through referrals to lifestyle counselors.

"By coming up with even a handful of effective innovations, primary care clinicians can improve and extend the lives of millions of people," said Larry Green, M.D., director of Prescription for Health and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado.

For more information about the grant awards and the Prescription for Health program, please visit http://www.prescriptionforhealth.org.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need-the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit http://www.rwjf.org or contact Andrea Daitz, RWJF, at (609) 627-5937 or adaitz@rwjf.org.

The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, at (301) 427-1855 or KMigdail@ahrq.gov.


 

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