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May 3, 2006

Johns Hopkins Community Programs And Research Group Receives $5.4 Million Award

Johns Hopkins has received a $5.4 million grant to conduct a randomized clinical trial to determine whether a nurse-led team of community health workers is effective in helping minority Medicare recipients utilize their benefits for cancer screening, diagnostic and treatment services. The four-year grant, awarded by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will target minority populations at increased risk for cancer in efforts to close the gap among Medicare recipients receiving health services to prevent the disease or cure it at an early stage. Five other hospitals throughout the country will receive additional funds as part of the CMS grant.

“Cancer screening and treatment services are readily available, but there are barriers to accessing this care that we need to address in minority populations,” said Jean Ford, MD, associate professor of epidemiology and oncology at the the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

As director of Hopkins’ Community Programs and Research, Ford collaborates with a coalition of Baltimore hospitals and local organizations in providing medically underserved populations with services for prostate, breast and colon cancers. Working with community partners, his programs have provided no-cost screening to 2,300 men for prostate cancer since 2001, and breast cancer screening to more than 200 women since 2003. Colorectal cancer screening programs are set to begin this spring.

“The award from CMS brings additional resources to our current collaborations with community-based organizations, to design and implement cancer education and screening programs in Baltimore,” says Ford. “We also will be evaluating whether this type of intervention can change health behaviors.”

As part of the CMS grant, Hopkins plans to conduct a randomized, controlled study of more than 3,000 participants to test the effectiveness of a nurse-led team of community health navigators to improve adherence to recommended cancer prevention and treatment steps.

The new government funds are intended to help improve access to cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancers.  Participants will receive help in scheduling appointments and follow-up testing.  Other services may include transportation, translation and coordination of care. A total of 13,000 minority Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the trial, representing American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

In addition to Hopkins, other institutions included in the CMS grant are the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah, Molokai General Hospital in Hawaii, University of Texas (MD Anderson Cancer Center), New Jersey Medical School and Josephine Ford Cancer Center in Michigan.

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta at 410-955-1287 or wastava@jhmi.edu.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.