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UCLA scientists will work with community partners to improve treatment of disadvantaged minority patients for stroke, heart disease

Date: 04/16/2009
Contact: Elaine Schmidt ()
Phone: 310-794-2272
UCLA has been awarded a four-year, $3.89 million grant from the American Heart Association to establish a new research center focused on improving the health of disadvantaged minority patients at risk for stroke and heart attack.
 
In addition to training future scientists, the center will collaborate with community partners on two studies exploring how to prevent stroke survivors from suffering a second stroke. Stroke is the nation's leading cause of disability and third leading cause of death.
 
Principal investigator Dr. Barbara Vickrey and co-director Dr. Jeffrey Saver, professors of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will lead the center with a team of faculty from the Geffen School and the UCLA School of Public Health.
 
"For patients who survive a stroke, the risk of suffering a second, more devastating stroke within a year is extremely high," Vickrey said. "While effective preventive treatments exist, these therapies are often not provided or continued long enough because the medical system is fragmented and difficult to navigate, especially for poor people without health insurance."
 
Dr. William Cunningham, UCLA professor of medicine and health services, will lead a study exploring a new model of care in which county hospitals partner with local community organizations. The model also uses nurse-practitioners to monitor and manage patients' stroke risk factors over time, organize group clinics, and empower patients to manage their risk factors.
 
Dr. Arleen Brown, UCLA associate professor of medicine, will lead a second study examining how neighborhoods influence people's risk for stroke and stroke-related disability or death. Examples include whether a neighborhood offers safe places to walk and resources such as grocery stores and health clinics.
 
"We hope to team with local community partners to develop neighborhood interventions that reduce stroke risk factors and improve treatment results," Brown said.
 
To benefit communities nationwide, the UCLA center will share its findings with new centers at Duke University, Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Missouri and Stanford University–Kaiser Permanente.
 
The American Heart Association's Pharmaceutical Roundtable, a coalition of 10 pharmaceutical companies, funded the four centers. Additional support was provided by a gift from AHA national board member David Spina and his wife, Stevie Spina, of Wayland, Mass.
 
For more information about the UCLA center or fellowship opportunities, please contact center administrator Eliza Aceves at 310-206-7671 or eaceves@ucla.edu.
 
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
 
For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom.



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