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NIH awards more than $54 Million to Kaiser Permanente to conduct health research

October 12, 2009 (Oakland, Calif.) As part of the $5 billion in grants announced by President Obama, the National Institutes of Health has granted Kaiser Permanente more than $54 million over two years through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to conduct health research on a multitude of critical public and clinical health areas. The bulk of this research will utilize and leverage Kaiser Permanente's electronic health records, the world's largest civilian electronic health record database.

"Kaiser Permanente is proud to be part of what President Obama called the 'single largest boost to biomedical research in history.' It's our mission to find answers to medicine's complex questions so that everyone can have better care," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. "Health research is foundational to reforming the way we deliver care. Such evidence-based innovation is core to Kaiser Permanente's commitment to improving care delivery and enhancing quality outcomes, two fundamental goals of the current health care reform debate."

The NIH has awarded 22 grants to Kaiser Permanente researchers in various regional centers, including a $25 million Grand Opportunities (GO) grant to conduct genotyping on 100,000 Kaiser Permanente members participating in the Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health, the largest population-based bio-bank in the United States. The RPGEH is based at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

This genetic information will be linked to data on participants from RPGEH health surveys, disease registries and Kaiser Permanente's vast electronic health record database, resulting in a resource that will allow researchers to examine genetic and environmental influences on a wide variety of health conditions. The genotyping accomplished in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco will roughly double the number of individuals in the United States available to researchers for genome-wide association studies.

A separate NIH GO grant of nearly $4 million was awarded to the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., to study personalized medicine and genomic tests for colon cancer. Researchers will use the grant money to evaluate two tests, one that determines whether colon cancer patients will respond to a commonly prescribed drug and another that tests for a genetic mutation that dramatically increases the chance of developing colon cancer.

Also awarded was a $7.2 million GO grant to develop a cardiovascular surveillance system for the Cardiovascular Research Network (a collaborative of 14 different health plans across the U.S. with approximately 11 million health maintenance organization members) and $3.3 million GO grant to create a National Research Database that will organize and leverage Kaiser Permanente's electronic health records.

Other NIH grants include research and the building of resources aimed at better understanding the causes and treatment of autism, autoimmune disease, breast cancer, chronic diseases, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, and successful aging; improving treatment for HIV-infected patients; better understanding the medical care burden of cancer; and improving post-acute care and rehabilitation for stroke patients. Other grants also will be used to study how to use natural language processing to more accurately extract data from the electronic medical record.

"We have a unique opportunity in front of us right now to transform and reform the way we deliver health care in this country," said John H. Cochran, MD, executive director of The Permanente Federation. "Kaiser Permanente believes that through evidence-based research and health information technology we can change how personalized health care is delivered."


Contact: Emily Schwartz
Golin/Harris International

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