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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 17, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 7
Nursing Receives Largest Grant In Its History, for Cardiovascular Disease

Jerilyn Allen will head the study.

By Jackie Powder
School of Nursing

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has received a $2.5 million federal research grant — the largest in the school's history — to implement a team-based health care delivery system to manage the total cardiovascular health of 500 high-risk patients. Headed by Jerilyn K. Allen, associate dean for research, the five-year study will incorporate successful prevention strategies from three earlier research studies, addressing a wide variety of patient risk factors.

"The reality is that very few patients have isolated risk factors, and we need to take a more comprehensive approach to prevent the progression of cardiovascular diseases," Allen said. "We're bringing together the best of three models of care to improve outcomes in urban clinics and underserved populations."

The new team-based project, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, will draw on SoN Dean Martha N. Hill's research on blood pressure in young African-Americans, Fred Brancati's work for the Bloomberg School of Public Health in managing diabetes and Allen's own research on cholesterol management.

The centerpiece of the research program is the use of a three-person team — comprising a physician, a nurse practitioner and a community health worker — to manage the health care of the study participants, who will be recruited from clinics operated by Baltimore Medical System, a nonprofit community health center system that provides care to 35,000 medically underserved people in Baltimore's poorest areas. BMS patients and health providers are to serve on a steering committee that will guide the research program.

"They will be true partners as we work together to shape the intervention so that it will be sustainable when the project is complete," Allen said.

Half the study patients will receive care from the three-person team, and half will receive a more traditional form of treatment. In addition to comparing health outcomes for the two groups, Allen will compare the cost-effectiveness of each type of treatment, as cost is a key factor in implementing the project on a broader scale. "One of our goals is to communicate to other stakeholders how this model can be effective and cost-effective," Allen said. "We would hope that it would have potential to result in decreasing cardiovascular disease mortality and health disparities if applied across other primary care settings."


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