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Rendell Administration Announces Health Research Grants From Tobacco Settlement Funds
Date:2/20/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health Secretary Everette James today announced four health research grants totaling nearly $18 million will be awarded from Pennsylvania's share of the national tobacco settlement for 2008-09.

These competitive grants focus on specific research priorities established and reviewed annually by the statewide Health Research Advisory Committee, chaired by Secretary James. The priorities for 2008-09 are autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and antibiotic resistance. Each grant is required to establish a research training program for minority students and faculty in order to create a diverse applicant pool for high-level research positions.

"These grants will support research that seeks to find answers to some of Pennsylvania's most pressing health issues," said Secretary James. "This announcement also reaffirms Governor Rendell's commitment to use tobacco settlement dollars to improve public health and maintain Pennsylvania's internationally recognized leadership in clinical and health services research."

Antibiotic-resistant infections are a growing and serious public health problem, particularly in health care settings. While most bacterial infections can be effectively controlled using existing antibiotic drugs, there has been a significant increase in antibiotic drug resistance rates in health care institutions during the past 25 years. It has been estimated that more than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause health care infections have resistance to at least one or more antibiotic drugs. More than 27,000 hospital-acquired infections were reported in Pennsylvania in 2007. Patients that acquired a hospital infection stayed more than three times longer in the hospital and their admission was four times as expensive as any other hospital admission. Many of these infections are caused by bacteria resistant to most, if not all, currently available drugs. '/>"/>

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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