A $6.7 Million Federal Grant to UMass Medical to Battle Health Disparities
The University of Massachusetts Medical School announced Thursday it has been awarded a five-year, $6.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fight significant health disparities in the region. The school will use the money to establish a new Health Equity Intervention Research Center with scientists from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. The center will focus on three programs: an effort to help new mothers lose weight after their pregnancies; an outreach targeting high rates of teenage pregnancy and HIV in the Springfield Puerto Rican community; and an initiative helping people with high blood pressure at Lowell and Worcester community health centers. The programs will take a grassroots approach in which patients tell their stories to inspire others. The idea for using storytelling comes from earlier work in Alabama by lead investigator Dr. Jeroan Allison, the medical school’s vice provost for health disparities research, which found that patients could better control their blood pressure after hearing the stories of others who did so. “We found storytelling to be amazingly effective, often as successful as prescribing a drug,” Allison said.
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Kay Lazar, White Coat Notes blog
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