GlaxoSmithKline funds $1.65 million effort for UNC-Duke public health care partnership

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has awarded $1.65 million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University for a collaborative partnership to address four pressing local and global health care concerns: quality of care and patient safety, health disparities, global health with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS, and mental health care.

The collaboration pools the resources of UNC's schools of Medicine and Public Health, Duke University Medical Center and Duke's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy to design and implement educational and research initiatives that promise long-term public health improvements in each of the four areas. It is under the direction of principal investigators Dr. Victor J. Dzau, Duke's chancellor for health affairs and president and chief executive officer of the Duke University Health System; and Dr. William L. Roper, UNC's vice chancellor for medical affairs, UNC Health Care's chief executive officer, and dean of the UNC School of Medicine.

"By funding this powerful collaboration, GlaxoSmithKline enables Duke and UNC to pool our extensive strengths in research design, evidence-based medicine, public health and public policy, and community-based initiatives to design models that can be disseminated locally and globally," Dzau said. "We are very grateful for GlaxoSmithKline's partnership and we look forward to the far-reaching and sustainable impact of this and future collaborations between our two institutions."

Said Roper, "This is yet another example of the enormous potential that can be realized by UNC working in concert with our colleagues in Durham. GlaxoSmithKline recognizes that the outcome of this partnership will be better health care for all. I want to express my appreciation to the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation for making it a reality, and I look forward to the good work ahead of us."

The three-year grant period began Jan. 6 and includes a six-month planning period followed by 30 months of implementation, evaluation and results dissemination for each of the four health care areas of concern.

Plans for the first area quality of care and patient safety include developing an interdisciplinary training curriculum for students in the health care professions at Duke and UNC, simulated teamwork exercises and best practices aimed at eliminating care-related disparities and improving quality of care and patient safety. At the end of the grant period, the curriculum will be available for national dissemination by CD-ROM or Internet.

A key component of area two health disparities is community engagement to identify needs and develop solutions. Both Duke and UNC currently have major community-based initiatives at sites in the state. Building on these with the aim of reaching underserved African-Americans and the growing Latino population, efforts will focus on coordinating wellness activities, developing new models for chronic disease prevention and care management, and training students and community health care providers.

Area three global health and HIV/AIDS will build on well-established Duke and UNC research and education programs in Tanzania and Malawi, respectively, to develop models that can be applied to both the African AIDS pandemic and to North Carolina, where rates of infection continue to climb among underserved populations. The project seeks to design culturally appropriate research projects to understand and address cultural, economic and other barriers to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and to involve Duke and UNC faculty, fellows, and residents in community-level education, care and research.

Area four mental health and community-based training focuses on a critical need for training and reform as North Carolina transitions from a state-funded and -administered mental health care system to one that is privatized. In collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disability, and Substance Abuse Services; Duke and UNC will each provide a senior psychiatry resident and faculty member to lead the development of extensive training curricula for new and existing community mental health providers. Using emerging evidence-based practices, the goal is to equip a workforce of mental health care professionals to care for seriously ill patients in non-hospital community settings.

"We applaud the leadership and vision of these two major health institutions," said Chris Viehbacher, president of US Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline. "We are pleased to support this kind of initiative and believe it can result in valuable new ideas to improve health locally and globally."

Current and recent examples of collaborations between the two institutions include the Robertson Scholars Program, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) consortium, the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense (SERCEB), the North Carolina Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program, a health care provider training program to improve breast and cervical cancer screening rates, a program serving abused and neglected children, and a curriculum program on physician fatigue and impairment.

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Since 1987, the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has supported activities in North Carolina that help meet the educational and health needs of today's society and future generations. The Foundation focuses on programs that emphasize the understanding and application of health, science and education at all academic and professional levels.

UNC's half of the gift counts toward the university's Carolina First Campaign goal of $2 billion. Carolina First is a comprehensive, multi-year, private fund-raising campaign to support UNC's vision of becoming the nation's leading public university.

UNC School of Medicine/UNC Health Care contact: Karen McCall, (919) 966-4752, kmccall@unch.unc.edu
Duke Medical Center contact: Jeff Molter, (919) 660-1304, molte001@mc.duke.edu
North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation contact: Mary Anne Rhyne, (919) 483-2319


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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