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AHCPR Funds Projects Which Support Medicine and Public Health Initiative

Press Release Date: March 3, 1997

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) is funding three projects, now underway, to create a closer, ongoing working relationship between medicine and public health. These projects support the efforts of the Medicine/Public Health Initiative, a national consortium working to improve the working relationship between the two disciplines.

According to Lisa A. Simpson, M.B., B.Ch., M.P.H., acting AHCPR administrator, "both AHCPR and the initiative are hopeful that these grants will help nurture collaboration between various health professions to improve health care from a more comprehensive perspective."

"We are confident that the result of these projects will be a more open discussion between professionals in public health and medicine," said Stanley J. Reiser, M.D., M.P.A., Ph.D., national coordinator, Medicine/Public Health Initiative.

Medicine and public health have tended to work separately, with medicine concentrating on the physical health of the individual and public health studying the health of populations and communities as a whole. As the needs of the individual and those of populations have become more divergent, the separation between public health and medicine has grown wider.

To bridge this gap, the Medicine/Public Health Initiative was started in 1994. Co-chaired by the American Medical Association and American Public Health Association, it brought together leaders of the main professional, academic, health care provision and governmental institutions of public health and medicine, as well as those from the private sector.

In March 1996, the initiative held a three-day national conference in Chicago, co-sponsored by AHCPR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Its goal was to develop opportunities for collaboration in health and health care provision, education and research that could be undertaken at regional and local levels of the country. The conference was attended by nearly 400 delegates from all 50 states.

At that meeting, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala congratulated the delegates for their collaborative effort. She noted, "Today, we are here to spark a new health care revolution—a revolution that exchanges the traditional medical model with a collaborative health model focused on prevention. And, only a coordinated, interdisciplinary approach will do."

Under this initiative, AHCPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation joined together to contribute funds for grants which would enhance these cooperative activities.

AHCPR funded the following three projects through its Small Project Grant Program:

  • The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/City of Chelsea Asthma Collaborative. Grant Number: HS09357. Principal Investigator: Elisha Atkins, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital Community Health Associates, Boston, Mass. Project period: 9/30/96-9/29/97. Award amount: $25,199.

    This project will provide support, education and access to primary care and preventive services for individuals presenting an acute asthmatic episode in the Chelsea school system or at the MGH Urgent Care Center. Project goals include: increasing access to primary care for patients who do not have an identified provider; facilitating public health intervention within the home environment; providing ongoing education and support to individuals with asthma; and providing followup to insure necessary services are obtained.

  • Developing an Ongoing Collaboration between Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County Health Department and Vanderbilt University Medical Center Clinicians. Grant Number: HS09359. Principal Investigator: Anthony Chapdelaine, M.D., M.S.P.H., Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County Health Department, Nashville, Tenn. Project period: 9/30/96-9/29/97. Award amount: $34,902.

    The Davidson County Health Department will be a training site for doctoral-level students enrolled in the Vanderbilt University Department of Preventive Medicine's inaugural Masters in Public Health program. The goals of this project are: to acquaint students with public health practice at the local level; to form an alliance between Vanderbilt clinicians and the Metropolitan Health Department (MHD) to better monitor key conditions; to provide technical assistance from the Department of Preventive Medicine to the MHD; and to generate projects of public health importance that would be the topic of larger collaborative research activities.

  • Evaluation of Ischemic Heart Disease in Monroe County. Grant Number: HS09358. Principal Investigator: Alvin Mushlin, M.D., Sc.M., University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Project period: 9/30/96-9/29/97. Award amount: $39,481.

    This project aims to bring together representatives from the community, hospitals, and health care plans of Monroe County for strategic planning to improve the treatment of ischemic heart disease. The representatives will (1) examine community-level data to better define patterns of illness, mortality and service utilization within Monroe County; (2) analyze patient-specific and aggregate variables with regard to in-hospital procedures and mortality for myocardial infarction; and (3) formally integrate and disseminate the results to improve overall planning and consensus-building for this condition.

AHCPR, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, and enhance access to essential services. AHCPR's broad programs of research and technology assessment bring practical, science-based information to medical practitioners, and to consumers and other health care purchasers.

A copy of the conference summary and information about participating in the initiative can be obtained by contacting Stanley J. Reiser, M.D., M.P.A., Ph.D., national coordinator, Medicine/Public Health Initiative, the University of Texas-Houston, 6431 Fannin, P.O. Box 20708, Houston, Texas 77225.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858,; Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864,

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