A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA; Rockville, Maryland) reported $39 million in grants to increase and improve medical services at the nation's health centers.

"These grants continue President Bush's historic expansion of the health center network, whose services now reach more economically vulnerable and geographically isolated Americans than ever before," said HRSA Administrator Elizabeth Duke. "In 2007, more than 16 million medically underserved people were served by health centers, up from 10 million patients served in 2001, and these funds will continue that trend."

A total of 168 grants worth more than $30 million will give existing health centers the funds to add new or increase existing mental health/substance abuse, oral health or pharmacy services. Grants worth $8.8 million will allow 19 current health center grantees to expand services by adding new medical providers or medical services or by staying open longer.

Additionally, 26 planning grants worth over $2 million will be distributed to organizations in areas without health centers to help them develop new service delivery sites. New health center sites must meet federal requirements for governance, community involvement, quality of care and financial feasibility.

HRSA manages the Health Center Program, which funds a national network of more than 1,000 community, migrant, homeless and public housing health center grantees. These organizations provide healthcare at more than 7,000 sites ranging from large medical facilities to clinics and mobile vans.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to healthcare services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable.

In other grants news, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reported awarding grants to eight academic research centers to conduct collaborative studies of urologic chronic pelvic pain disorders by looking for clues outside the bladder and prostate. The total research investment for the five-year project is estimated to be up to $37.5 million.

"The launch of this novel research effort is an excellent example of NIH's commitment to encouraging translational research," said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, MD.

The Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network includes six Discovery Sites that will conduct the studies and two Core Sites that will coordinate data collection, analyze tissue samples, and provide technical support.

The Discovery Sites are at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois); the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Iowa (Iowa City); the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); the University of Washington (Seattle); and Washington University (St. Louis).

Core Sites are at the University of Colorado (Denver) and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

The MAPP initiative is unusual in requiring investigators to conduct highly collaborative research of the most common urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes from a broadened systemic perspective. This is a major shift from earlier organ-specific research on the two most prominent urologic chronic pelvic pain disorders, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

"The MAPP Network's expanded scientific approach will address many persistent questions about urologic chronic pelvic pain," said NIDDK Director Griffin Rodgers, MD. "Knowing whether there are risk factors common to all the disorders and whether clinical profiles can be identified for each will provide invaluable, fundamental information for developing treatment strategies."

Scientists at Discovery Sites will conduct individual and collaborative multi-site research projects, supported by each Core Site. An important first step in these studies will be the careful and extensive phenotyping (clinical characterization) of the men and women participating in the studies.

The Data Coordination Core at the University of Pennsylvania will provide overall administration and coordination of multi-site research studies and perform data analyses.

The Tissue Analysis and Technology Core (at the University of Colorado will bank, analyze, and distribute biopsy, serum and urine samples. Tissue analyses will help in the search for biomarkers, important in screening for diseases and for monitoring treatment outcomes. The Colorado Core Site also will perform genomic and proteomic tissue expression analyses which may lead to new treatment approaches and help predict which patients may respond to these treatments.

In addition to initial collaborative projects by the Network, MAPP investigators will be invited to propose ancillary research projects to further the goals of the collaborative study group. Proposals will be reviewed for scientific merit and feasibility by an external Scientific Advisory Committee.

No Comments