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March 31, 2005

New center to address minority health disparities

In Allegheny County, African Americans have a disproportionately higher death rate from stroke, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease as compared to Caucasians. Pitt’s Schools of the Health Sciences have created the Center for Primary Care Community-Based Research to address such disparities.

The center, led by Janine E. Janosky, executive director, and Jeannette E. South-Paul, medical director, was developed in response to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) call for research and research-based care to be taken beyond the university setting into communities, especially underserved communities.

The center will support projects that facilitate the removal of barriers to patient education about disease prevention; foster adherence to prevention and treatment recommendations; utilize strategies to improve patient adherence; organize research networking.

Outreach programs will bring research studies, health screenings and educational interventions to the communities.

These programs currently include:

• Innovations in reducing stroke and prostate cancer in minority men.This study, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, will utilize a community-based intervention to remove barriers to patient education while encouraging compliance with prevention and treatment activities.

• Minority women’s heart initiative. An Office of Minority Health-funded study will provide educational programs on prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.

• Primary care physician compliance with treatment modalities for diabetes and metabolic syndrome in an underserved patient population. Funded by the Merck Co. Foundation, this study will evaluate community-based family practitioners’ compliance with national best-practice guidelines.

The Center for Primary Care Community-Based Research will bring together experts in community issues, clinical care, screening, public health, educational programs, regional policy/development and research.

Partners in the center include the family medicine department; UPMC; FM-Pittnet, a network of hospital-affiliated health centers that provide care to low-income populations with a special emphasis on minorities and the underserved, and a number of community-based organizations.

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