Morehouse School of Medicine, Satcher Health Leadership Institute Awarded $3 million to Fight Chronic Diseases in Diverse Communities

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Program Aims to Improve Health and Reduce Health Disparities

The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) has been awarded a $3 million grant to strengthen access to care for African American adults at risk of depression and cardiovascular diseases in three urban and three rural underserved communities. Kisha B. Holden, Ph.D., MSCR, deputy director of SHLI and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the principal investigator. SHLI will partner with the MSM Cardiovascular Research Institute and its director, Herman Taylor, M.D., on this initiative.

“Our goal is to implement an innovative model that bridges community and clinical connections while improving access to health care,” explains Dr. Holden. “Our project will help to fill the gap that exists between community-clinical partnerships, strengthening access to care for adult African Americans at risk of depression and cardiovascular disease.”

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) award is part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiative to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities and control health care spending. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will administer the grants, which will run for three years, subject to availability of funds.

“There is no health without mental health,” said David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., SHLI director and former U.S. Surgeon General. “And in this country, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death, disability, and health care costs, accounting for seven of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and more than 80 percent of the $2.7 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care.”

Overall, HHS awarded $35 million in new grant awards to 49 local health agencies. REACH, a CDC program that began in 1999, focuses on racial and ethnic communities experiencing health disparities. Awardees include local governmental agencies, community-based nongovernmental organizations, tribes and tribal organizations, Urban Indian Health Programs, and tribal and intertribal consortia. They will use public health strategies to reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and improve access to chronic disease prevention, risk reduction, and management opportunities.

Seventeen organizations are receiving funds for basic implementation activities; 32 additional organizations are receiving funds to immediately expand their scope of work to improve health and reduce health disparities. REACH is financed in part by the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act.

Specifically, the initiative will promote community health leadership, improve access to quality integrated care at Federally Qualified Health Centers, reduce risk for co-occurring chronic diseases, and bolster advocacy of health policies.

To learn more about the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, prevention and wellness projects, visit http://www.msm.edu/research/research_centersandinstitutes/SHLI/index.php

About Morehouse School of Medicine

Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians and was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine in 2011 as the top institution in the first study of U.S. medical schools for our social mission based on our production of primary care physicians, training of underrepresented minority doctors and placement of doctors practicing in underserved communities. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.

Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. For more information, please visit http://www.msm.edu

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Ronna Charles Nu'Man
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