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AHRQ awards nearly $3 million to build and support the research infrastructure

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded nearly $3 million to fund nine projects to build and strengthen the Nation's research infrastructure. These projects will help strengthen the health services research environments of institutions that serve racial/ethnic minorities and broaden the geographic distribution of health services research funding.

The grants were funded under two AHRQ research infrastructure-development initiatives announced in FY 2001: the Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program (M-RISP), and the Building Research Infrastructure and Capacity Program (BRIC). See below for project descriptions.

M-RISP was established to increase the capacity of institutions that serve racial/ethnic minorities and their faculty to conduct rigorous health services research. By supporting institutional infrastructure and individual investigator research projects, M-RISP can lead to successful applications for funding under regular health services research grant mechanisms. Almost $1.2 million to support 3-year projects will go to three educational minority-serving institutions located in Hawaii, Tennessee, and Texas.

The BRIC program is intended to enhance the competitiveness for research funding among institutions located in States where the success rate for applications historically has been low. Eligibility under the BRIC Program is limited to 17 designated States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Over $1.7 million for six 2-year projects will go to institutions in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Utah, and a consortium involving Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program (M-RISP)

Health Services Research in Underserved Populations, Jean L. Freeman, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. Total projected funding $1,206,900.

The goal is to increase this institution's ability to conduct health services research with a focus on medically underserved populations. The program will allow the university to increase the number of faculty who conduct health services research, recruit additional expert faculty, and strengthen its research capabilities.

Hawaii Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program, Edwin C. Cadman, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Total projected funding $1,004,295.

The objective is to build a program at the University of Hawaii Medical School that will evaluate ethnic health disparities in the State's Asian American and Pacific Islander populations. The program also will provide mentoring and training to inexperienced researchers, facilitate collaboration between Hawaii's health care organizations, and establish a nationally recognized mentoring group to assist in the implementation of research projects.

Collaborative Minority Health Care and Quality Research, Baqar A. Husaini, Tennessee State University, Nashville. Total projected funding $1,367,583.

The objectives are to increase minority health care research programs at Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College, establish collaborations with senior health services researchers at other universities, and conduct research to address racial and ethnic health care disparities.

Building Research Infrastructure and Capacity (BRIC)

Rutgers Center for Health Services Research, Stephen Crystal, Rutgers State University of New Jersey, Piscataway. Total projected funding $757,565.

The objective is to create a multidisciplinary health services research center for the State of New Jersey at Rutgers University. The center will allow researchers to build the State's expertise in health services research, including recruiting additional health services researchers to faculty positions, providing support for application development, developing a multi-use health database, and providing training, consultation, and technical assistance to State health officials and Rutgers University faculty.

Intermountain Child Health Services Research Consortium, Charles J. Hoff, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Total projected funding $577,161.

The goal is to develop an infrastructure for a child health services research program with emphasis on children with special health care needs, including development of a consortium, implementation of a faculty development program in child health services research, and conduct of a study to compare a pediatric hospitalist system and traditional care on outcomes of children with special health care needs.

LSU Health Services Research Program, Frederick P. Cerise, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans. Total projected funding $586,880.

This project will establish the Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Services Research Program, which will function as a partnership between the university's medical school and an LSU unit that delivers health care to 1 million State residents, many of whom are uninsured and underinsured. The focus will be on translating research evidence into practice.

Intermountain BRIC Consortium, Luis M. Paita, National Association of Health Data Organizations. Total projected funding $368,909.

This project will improve the infrastructure and capacity of five Building Research Infrastructure and Capacity (BRIC)-eligible States (Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming) and enhance their ability to compete for and be awarded health services research grants. The project will produce, among other resources, standardized analytic tools, a Web-based clearinghouse and communications module, health quality indicators, and a research agenda.

Kentucky Health Services Research Development, Joyce E. Beaulieu, University of Kentucky Research Foundation. Total projected funding $623,052.

The goal is to increase faculty research capability and grant-writing ability at the University of Kentucky by establishing the Kentucky HSR Development. One of the participants in this program will be a new practice-based research network, the Kentucky Ambulatory Network (KAN).

Mississippi Building Research Infrastructure and Capacity, Linda Southward, Mississippi State University. Total projected funding $595,370.

The objective is to implement a partnership between Mississippi's child care and health care providers, Mississippi State University, and the American Academy of Pediatrics to improve health care and outcomes for underserved, low-income, and minority children in the Mississippi Delta. The researchers will develop a multidisciplinary health services research program for one of the poorest rural areas of the Nation to assess the quality of care available for these populations, identify their current health care needs, and improve quality of care.

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