Sentara awarded $3.4 million to study hypertension disparities in underserved communities
Funds to be awarded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
The Sentara Health Research Center is in line to receive a $3.4 million, five-year grant to study hypertension in underserved communities. Sentara will partner with Yale University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital, who are also receiving funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The funding allows participating health systems to investigate and address hypertension management in underserved communities.
The Sentara Health Research Center will partner with Sentara’s Community Engagement and Health Equity teams to recruit participants through our Sentara Community Care centers, mobile care services, and community-based partnerships with churches, homeless shelters, and food banks across South Hampton Roads, Newport News, and Hampton. Two community outreach coordinators, paid through the grant, will support patient enrollment, monitoring, and following hypertension treatment plans with patients.
The Sentara Health Research Center was established in 2020. This is the first major grant from a third-party organization to support the center’s work.
“It’s a high honor for Sentara to be awarded this grant and be in the study with prestigious organizations like Yale University, Massachusetts General, and Houston Methodist hospitals,” said John Brush, MD, FACC, Chief Research Officer at Sentara Healthcare and Professor of Medicine at EVMS. “This award will help us advance Sentara’s community outreach efforts and examine what works best to control hypertension in underserved populations.”
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is more common and more severe in Black and Brown communities. Social determinants of health, such as access to healthcare, housing, nutrition, and education are likely contributing factors to this disparity. This study will investigate these social factors and determine if a community-partnered health system approach is more effective in improving blood pressure (BP) control in underserved populations.
The study will take place over five years and monitor two groups: patients with remote blood pressure monitoring through a cell phone app, and patients with remote blood pressure monitoring PLUS being partnered with a community health worker. The study will look to see which intervention is more effective in controlling hypertension, as compared with the standard method of community screening and referral to primary care.
“We are thrilled to receive this award as it demonstrates Sentara’s commitment to advancing outcomes research, especially in the areas of health equity, through our innovative model of Sentara Community Care,” said Jordan Asher, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive at Sentara Healthcare. “Findings from the project will allow us to better address the needs of our communities and inform healthcare investments made by health systems and policy makers.”
Sentara’s award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit 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.