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Strategies for Eliminating Minority Health Disparities Focus of New AHCPR Research Solicitation

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Press Release Date: October 26, 1999

The U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), announced today that the agency plans over the next five years to establish up to four "centers of excellence" that will identify practical tools and strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the health care system. The research conducted by these centers will go beyond simply documenting disparities by putting a new emphasis on understanding their underlying causes and developing strategies to eliminate them.

This AHCPR research program is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Initiative on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities and the U.S. Surgeon General's Healthy People 2010 Goal to eliminate disparities in health by the year 2010. Additional information on the Initiative and Healthy People 2010 is available at

"Eliminating disparities in health will require additional research dedicated to a better understanding of the relationships between health status and race and ethnicity," said U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher. "AHCPR's new research program will help us gain the necessary knowledge to eliminate these disparities and develop new ways to apply existing knowledge toward this goal."

AHCPR's research will focus on six clinical areas: infant mortality, cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, HIV, and immunizations for both children and adults. The centers will emphasize minority children and chronically ill elderly because these groups may be particularly vulnerable to the impact of disparities in health care treatment. Another research emphasis will be on clinical preventive services. Minority health services researchers and minority or minority serving institutions are especially encouraged to apply for these grants.

"Earlier research sponsored by AHCPR and others has given us a good foundation for taking the next step to eliminating racial disparities," said John M. Eisenberg, M. D., AHCPR administrator. "The findings of this new research will help close the gap between what we know about racial disparities in health and what we can do about racial disparities in health."

AHCPR has committed to a long-term investment in research to make substantial contributions to eliminating disparities in health care. The agency has completed funding of 11 MEDTEP (Medical Treatment Effectiveness Programs) Research Centers on Minority Populations throughout the U.S. to improve the effectiveness of medical diagnosis and treatment, and disseminate the information to help both minority patients and their health care providers. More recently, AHCPR has set aside $3 million in research funds to focus on issues of access and quality of care for racial/ethnic minority populations.

The agency expects that applicants will seek partnerships with change agents, such as payers, policy makers, provider groups, professional groups, and community organizations in the health care community. These partnerships will help ensure that the research and implementation of findings will have a positive impact on health care practices, policies, and patient outcomes. Applicants are also expected to build on existing linkages with the communities and community organizations, and to develop new relationships with those communities to guarantee their needs are being addressed in the research.

The agency intends to fund two to four grants by September 1, 2000. From the first year's funding level of up to $4.35 million (depending on final action of AHCPR's fiscal year 2000 budget), the agency is setting aside $850,000 for the study of clinical preventive services, $500,000 for the study of minority children, and $500,000 for the study of chronically ill minority elderly.

Interested investigators are encouraged to submit letters of intent by December 22, 1999, and apply for the grants by January 21, 2000.

For further details and application instructions, see "Understanding and Eliminating Minority Health Disparities," in the October 20, 1999, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts ( and on AHCPR's Funding Opportunities page ( A companion piece, "AHCPR Guidelines for the Research Program Project Grant," is also available online.

For additional information, please contact: AHCPR Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364.

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