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Einstein receives $2.1 million federal grant to support Hispanic Center of Excellence

October 1, 2009 (BRONX, NY) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University a three-year, $2.1 million grant to expand and enrich its Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE).

Einstein's HCOE, the only center of its kind in New York State, provides leadership and training in research to Hispanic students and faculty, and education relating to Hispanic health issues, disparities in health, and other health care concerns of the Hispanic community.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 45 million Hispanics living in the U.S., comprising 15.1% of the U.S. population. "Although Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the country, they are underrepresented in the health professions," says program director Alvin H. Strelnick, M.D., professor of family and social medicine at Einstein. "This grant will help us redress this imbalance and improve health care delivery in chronically underserved Hispanic communities."

"This grant is an example of the leadership role that Hal Strelnick, Nilda Soto, assistant dean for the Office of Diversity Enhancement at Einstein, and other faculty have played in helping our institution provide outstanding health profession training to Hispanics and other underrepresented minorities," said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean. "This award and the prior NIH award for the Study of Latino Health reflect Einstein's commitment to and excellence in addressing health disparities in both our educational and research missions."

On September 11, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced awards totaling $33 million to expand the training of health professionals. The funds are part of $500 million allotted to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to address workforce shortages under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More than 300 grants were awarded in this round of funding. Einstein's grant was the second-largest overall and one of only four to exceed $1 million. Only two centers of excellence received ARRA funding.

Einstein's HCOE, which was founded in 2001, will use the funds to:

  • create four new fellowships for Hispanic faculty to attend Einstein's master's-level Clinical Research Training Program
  • expand activities of the Einstein Community Health Outreach (ECHO) clinic, which provides free, high-quality, comprehensive health care to uninsured Bronx residents
  • provide study-skills workshops and test-preparation course scholarships for Hispanic students and faculty
  • support minority faculty recruitment
  • support student and faculty research in Hispanic health
  • expand Web and library resources with Spanish language health education materials, medical Spanish program support materials, and test-preparation programs for medical licensing examinations
  • fund travel fellowships to professional meetings
  • implement a longitudinal curriculum in cultural competency in all four years of the Einstein medical school curriculum

"The biggest impact of the grant is that it will improve the ability of Hispanic students and faculty at Einstein to succeed academically," says Dr. Strelnick. "That, in turn, will strengthen our partnerships with the Latino and Hispanic communities here in the Bronx."

According to Dr. Strelnick, existing partnerships were instrumental in securing Einstein's participation in the national HCHS/SOL (Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos) study, the first in-depth study of the health of Latinos living in the U.S. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study aims to determine the role of assimilation to the U.S. in the prevalence and development of disease, and to identify risk factors playing a protective or harmful role in the health of Hispanics and Latinos.


Contact: Deirdre Branley
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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