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Austen BioInnovation Institute's Accountable Care Community initiative gains national support

WASHINGTON, September 27, 2011 - The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA), its founding members and several community partners are the recipients of a national $500,000 award to fund the Accountable Care Community (ACC) initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today. ACC is a collective effort aiming to create a healthier community and lessen the burden of disease in the Akron region. The funding is part of a multimillion dollar CDC Community Transformation Program that supports public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending.

ABIA -- an unique collaboration of Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Summa Health System, The University of Akron and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation -- is the lead institution on the community grant and will collaborate with all of its founding members on the effort along with community partners, including Summit County Health District and Community Legal Aid Services. The ACC effort, focused on improving the community's health status and health care delivery while lessening the burden of disease, was launched at a national summit held in Akron in June.

"Through our collective efforts, we continue to establish Akron as an epicenter for patient-centered innovation and commercialization. Once again, we are receiving national recognition and support for the transformational power of our community's shared vision to create a healthier and more competitive region," said Dr. Frank L. Douglas, ABIA president and chief executive officer. "The work of this initiative, and that of our founding members, is moving us to improve lives and the productivity of our community."

The project is striving to focus all Akron-area public, private and philanthropic resources toward achieving improvements in population health and to closing gaps in health care delivery, through aligned or coordinated efforts and pioneering approaches. It focuses on chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, asthma and hypertension.

"The enthusiasm and dedication of those involved in this initiative is tremendous," said Dr. Janine E. Janosky, Vice President of ABIA's Center for Clinical and Community Health Improvement (CCCHI), and leader of the ACC initiative. "We are pleased to have more than 60 organizations involved in this effort. Through the ACC, we are gathering a group of health providers who currently engage in disease prevention and health promotion, provide access and coordinate care, and manage chronic diseases. These professionals come from nearly every community outpost that may affect the health of individual residents of the Akron area. When completed the ACC will not only mean a healthier Akron region, but will be replicable to communities across the country."

The grant's funded efforts include fostering of community health leadership development; investigation of regional health programs; analysis of health policy areas including the areas of tobacco-free living, active lifestyles and healthy eating; and identifying the areas of greatest need in Summit County.

The initiative's steering committee continues to develop a community blueprint to guide Akron's development of an ACC that will further expand the efficiency of budgets and resources, and develop research to improve health through community and practice-based interventions.

Contact: Scott Rainone
Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron

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