A $197,000 Aetna Foundation grant to AcademyHealth, the nation’s premier professional organization for health researchers, will continue the AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program through 2013. The program, launched in 2010, underwrites the costs of 15 graduate students, post-doctoral trainees and fellows to attend AcademyHealth's annual research meeting, along with adjunct meetings, and networking and mentoring activities.
An award of $204,000 from the Aetna Foundation to the Four Directions Summer Research Program in Boston, Mass., will support an eight-week summer research experience at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School for American Indian and Alaska Native college students. With the goal of increasing the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives in medicine, science and health care, the program provides undergraduates with a mentored research project combined with an extensive career development curriculum. The research project is conducted under the tutelage of a Harvard Medical School faculty member and culminates in the student’s preparation of a formal research abstract and oral presentation. Since its founding in 1994, the program has enrolled 142 students representing 78 tribes and 81 colleges. Among past program participants, two-thirds subsequently enrolled in medical or graduate school.
A $100,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to National Medical Fellowships is designed to increase the number of physicians from underrepresented minority groups and champion racial and ethnic equity in health and health care. The grant will provide $5,000 scholarships to 10 second- and third-year medical students from underrepresented minority groups.
A $50,000 Aetna Foundation grant to Southern Methodist University will help fund an intensive six-week scientific curriculum to 120 academically gifted seventh and eighth graders from minority populations on its campus during the summer of 2011. The rigorous summer regimen is the junior-high component of the Distance Learning Center’s successful initiative, the Physician Scientist Training Program, the nation's first biomedical program that identifies, trains and supports minority students starting in the seventh grade until college graduation.
A $299,000 grant from Aetna supports three projects to stimulate improvements in health care equity at the Center for Healthcare Equity at the Institute for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The projects include research into the role of health literacy in reducing disparities in chronic disease management; a study of the role health information technology systems might play in reducing disparities in health care; and a collaboration with the Chicago Department of Public Health to document the health status of Chicago residents in 77 neighborhoods.
A $242,000 Aetna grant developed with the Aetna Foundation will help the Center for Health Care Strategies implement an 18-month study to analyze racial and ethnic disparities in Medicaid-paid obstetrics and pediatric care. Researchers will inventory the medical practice size of obstetrics and pediatric providers serving high volumes of Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)-enrolled patients in five regions in the U.S., and analyze the quality of care measures by practice size. Currently, 41 percent of all U.S. births are financed through Medicaid, and one-third of all children’s medical coverage is supplied by the Medicaid/CHIP program.
A $150,000 Aetna Foundation grant funds a two-year partnership with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies and supports the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities. The Roundtable brings together leaders from government and private sectors to advance strategies to reduce disparities promote health equity and foster new leadership.
A $250,000 Aetna Foundation grant to the March of Dimes will enable the organization to study ways to increase the number of African-American women participating in Centering Pregnancy® group prenatal programs and improve the programs’ effectiveness as part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of premature births. Nearly one in five African-American babies is born early, a rate that is 50 percent higher than that for white infants, according to the organization. Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality.
A $238,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to the University of California, San Francisco for a two-year study aims to understand the causes of higher rates of cesarean deliveries among African-American women. Focusing on California, where one in seven U.S. births occurs, researchers will analyze two statewide population-based secondary data sets - hospital discharge data linked with birth certificates, and postpartum survey data linked with birth certificates - to study racial and ethnic disparities in cesarean rates among approximately 310,000 term singleton first births during 2007-2008. The study will examine clinical indications, maternal characteristics such as body mass index, and hospital-level factors.
A $223,000 grant from Aetna to the University of South Florida will allow researchers to explore use, outcomes and disparities with genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer. The study aims to explore patterns of how and for what groups of women the available genetic tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are being used in the community health care setting, and whether, as suspected, significant disparities exist in the use of these tests among women of different socioeconomic, racial and ethnic groups. The study will also examine the use of risk-reduction and screening services by patients following testing.
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