Delaware hospitals, university get $25 million health grant

The federal money will help researchers learn how to improve health care infrastructure and patient-doctor interaction.

The University of Delaware will join with Christiana Care, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and the Medical University of South Carolina for the ACCEL program.

The money will be used to expand clinical and translational research. Translational research is the study of how to put clinical research into action. “The purpose of this grant is to build research infrastructure in Delaware,” said Dr. William Weintraub is the director of Christiana Care’s Center for Outcomes Research. He’s the co-principal investigator for clinical and translational research at Christiana Care.

There are a number of different areas of research being funded including community engagement work which is being done at Christiana Care. “That’s really the central core of the whole CTR is about engaging the community, because the idea is to build research infrastructure that allows us ultimately to improve care and improve health.”

Delaware’s size helps

Delaware is a perfect place to do this kind of work, according to Weintraub. “Delaware is the best population health laboratory in the country.” He says the state’s small, but demographically mixed population and compressed size helps researchers connect to each other and to the general public.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell says the benefits of this research could be seen statewide. “The benefits of  this from an economic development standpoint, from a health standpoint, from an advancing human knowledge standpoint, make this incredibly worthwhile.” 

Connecting researchers with community leaders could lead to improved results for both sides says Brian Rahmer who works as a health services resource manager at Christian Care.

“We have a special role to play in the community engagement and outreach section in helping each other understand what the needs are of both sides of the equation. And figuring out how to put the right people together both from the community as well as from academic centers and hospital systems to be able to create the solutions that we know we need to create.”

Overall, the goal of the research is to help improve health care results, while lowering costs. The grant funding is made up of $20 million from the National Institutes of Health, $5 million from the state of Delaware, and a combined $3.3 million from the participating institutions. The grant program runs for five years with the possibility of being extended at the end of that time frame.

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