Penn Community Health Worker Project Gets $1.9 Million PCORI Grant

Penn Community Health Worker Project Gets $1.9 Million PCORI Grant

Widely Publicized Project Gets Three-Year Grant

The University of Pennsylvania's widely publicized community health worker (CHW) research project has been awarded a $1.9 million, three-year grant from the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for a study of treatment support strategies for low-income chronically ill patients.

Meanwhile, the same Penn CHW program is the subject of a long New York Times article that frames it as a model with national promise in this new era of health reform.

Judith Long and Shreya Kangovi
LDI Senior Fellows Judith Long, MD, and Shreya Kangovi, MD, run the Penn Community Health Workers research project that has received a PCORI grant.

The primary investigators on the project are LDI Senior Fellows Judith Long and Shreya Kangovi. Long, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and a staff physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center; Kangovi, MD, is Director of the Penn Center for Community Health Workers and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Perelman.

Comparative effectiveness research
The award is one of 33 new patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research projects announced by PCORI this week. The new round of $54.8 million in funding supports a broad range of investigations focused on the improvement of outcomes for people who have a broad range of diseases and multiple chronic conditions.

Created as part of the Affordable Care Act, PCORI is a private, non-profit organization sponsored by the government and charged with exploring the effectiveness of various medical procedures, therapies and clinical management strategies.

Team's past studies
Long and Kangovi's past studies have focused on chronically ill patients from low socioeconomic status (SES) communities that are at high risk of poor outcomes. Most recently, the team has been studying how to most effectively use community health workers as part of a academic-health system team to support patients in meeting their chronic disease management goals.

The PCORI funded project will continue these studies with 444 patients from low-income communities who have two or more of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or are smokers with asthma or emphysema.