HHS Awards $14 Million to Support Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary for health, Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, announced the award of more than $14.2 million to develop, implement and test strategies to increase the adoption and dissemination of interventions based on patient-centered outcomes research among racial and ethnic minority populations. The funds will support programs to help promote more informed health decisions and options that best fit an individual patient’s needs and preferences.

“A healthier nation must include our underserved and minority communities. We now have the opportunity to determine which interventions truly help diverse populations achieve optimal levels of health,” Koh stated in a press release.

Patient-centered outcomes research is designed to inform health care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options. The evidence is generated from research studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries or ways to deliver health care.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) awarded grants to centers of excellence at universities and medical schools in Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico and New York. Westat Inc. of Rockville, Md., was also awarded a contract.

“Patient-centered outcomes research must become a critical part of our strategy as a nation to understand and eliminate health disparities. This joint initiative complements the work that we are currently doing and is a testament to the value of partnerships,” John Ruffin, PhD, director of the NIMHD, stated.

The awards are part of the investments made from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which appropriated $1.1 billion to support patient-centered outcomes research. Of that total, $400 million was authorized to be allocated at the discretion of the HHS Secretary for a variety of patient-centered outcomes research and related activities. These awards are one part of the overall HHS ARRA strategy and are supported from the funds allocated to the Secretary.

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) and NIMHD will jointly evaluate the scientific progress of the recipients of the grant awards following standard NIH policies and procedures.

“Every citizen in our country deserves our best effort. With the help of the health information derived from these studies, we can take a step closer to achieving our goals and, at the same time, transform our communities into safer and healthier places for all people,” Garth Graham, MD, deputy assistant secretary for minority health and director of OMH, stated.

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