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PCORI to Invest $17 Million to Answer Long-Standing Questions About Disparities in Asthma Burden and Care

Funding announcement is PCORI’s first in series targeting specific high-impact healthcare topics

Contact: Christine Stencel, PCORI Media Relations (202-570-9275 or cstencel@pcori.org) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 18, 2013) – Recognizing the persistent disparities in controlling asthma among African-American and Hispanic/Latino populations in the United States, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) today issued a call for research proposals  to provide new information on ways to solve this problem.

PCORI will invest up to $17 million in patient-centered outcomes research projects that evaluate comprehensive and coordinated approaches to reducing poor health and other complications related to uncontrolled asthma in these target populations, as well as improving both patients’ and their healthcare providers’ adherence to treatment guidelines. Studies might incorporate interventions at the community, home, and health system levels and assess combinations of patient education tools, asthma medications, team-based approaches, or interventions delivered in homes or other locations outside medical facilities.

PCORI also is looking for proposals that will examine outcomes that matter most to patients and their families, such as missed days of school or work, visits to emergency departments, limitations on individuals’ activities, patients’ and families’ ability to manage symptoms themselves outside of medical facilities, and their overall quality of life.

Those interested in this PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) must submit letters of intent (LOIs) by Thursday, Aug.  1, and applications by Wednesday, Sept. 18. Application guidelines and templates will be available on Monday, July 1, in PCORI’s Funding Center. The institute will host an informational webinar on Tuesday, July 9, for interested applicants.

“We heard from patients, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholder that improving asthma care among racial and ethnic minority groups who are the worst affected is a high priority area of concern, and we responded,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “Through this funding opportunity, we’re seeking answers to several historic and vexing questions about disparities in asthma control, and the information generated could help millions of individuals and their families achieve improved health and better quality of life.”

Asthma affects nearly 26 million Americans and disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. African Americans are among those at highest risk, with almost 4.5 million people — approximately 12 percent — affected in 2010. They experience significantly higher asthma-related illness and death rates than do white Americans. About 3.6 million Hispanics and Latinos/Latinas in the United States — some 7 percent — reported having asthma in 2010.

African-American children are three times as likely as white children and Hispanic/Latino children are almost twice as likely to seek asthma care in emergency departments and to have an asthma-related hospital stay. Both these groups of children have a lower likelihood than white children to be prescribed asthma treatment and to follow it when they are.

Not all asthma care may be optimal for all populations, and treatments beneficial to some groups may be less beneficial to others. Moreover, much research shows that disparities in health and health care are generally due to multiple factors, health-related as well as social and economic.

The asthma announcement is the first of a series of planned PFAs to result from PCORI’s efforts to issue funding opportunities to support research that will answer patients’ questions about healthcare options in specific, high-impact research topic areas. PCORI identified an initial set of such topics by reviewing previous efforts to identify and prioritize gaps in comparative effectiveness research and then empaneled multi-stakeholder workgroups to help refine the list.

PCORI also recently signed an agreement with the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, to form a partnership to fund a major intervention study aimed at preventing injuries from falls in older adults. And PCORI’s Board of Governors today approved the development of an initiative to fund research projects focused on uterine fibroids in women, working in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Additional targeted PFAs are expected to be issued later this year.

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 About PCORI

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at www.pcori.org.