With a $2.4 million grant, UMSON, Partners, to address W. Baltimore’s heart health

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD, CRNP-Neonatal, FNAP, FAAN, Associate Professor; Chair, Department of Partnerships, Professional Education and Practice; and co-director of the Center for Health Equity and Outcomes Research, received a $2.4 million Pathways to Health Equity grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) for a project that will address hypertension disparities and social isolation in West Baltimore.

Yolanda Ogbolu

The project takes the form of the West Baltimore Reducing Isolation and Inequities in Cardiovascular Health (RICH) collaboration, which seeks to achieve collective medical and social impact by bringing together partner organizations to advance joint interventions aimed at improving health outcomes. hypertension and social isolation.

UMSON is one of nine CHRC Pathways to Health Equity award winners, who will together invest a total of $13.5 million in new resources in underserved communities across the state. Grant-funded projects will address health disparities, expand access to health services, and improve health outcomes through funding made available under the Maryland Health Equity Resource Act of 2021.

“I am excited about the West Baltimore RICH collaboration as it seeks to break down fragmentations and silos in social and medical care to advance health equity,” Ogbolu said.

Ogbolu is the principal investigator for this grant, joined by co-investigators Shannon K. Idzik, DNP, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN, UMSON Associate Professor and Associate Dean for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program; Kelly Doran, PhD, RN, UMSON Associate Professor; and Charles C. Hong, MD, PhD, Dr. Melvin Sharoky Professor of Medicine, Director of Cardiology Research and Co-Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The main goals of the project include establishing collaboration using nurse-run health centers, leveraging mobile health care, and improving care coordination through an agent model. community health services to reduce the number of patients with uncontrolled hypertension and increase participation in social support groups. More specifically, the project aims to:

  • reduce health disparities
  • improve health outcomes
  • increase access to primary care
  • promote primary and secondary preventive services
  • reduce costs and hospital admissions and readmissions.

The RICH Collaboration is a multi-sectoral partnership between several community and faith-based organizations, universities, hospitals, and hospital-related entities in Baltimore. Partner organizations working together to achieve the objectives of the collaboration include:

  • A Consulting Agency A Better Future Starts Today (BTST)
  • Ascension Sainte-Agnès Hospital
  • Bon Secours Community Works
  • Coppin State University Helene Fuld School of Nursing
  • Druid Heights Community Development Corporation.
  • Lifebridge Health Grace Medical Center
  • LIGHT Health and well-being
  • Ministers Conference Empowerment Center
  • University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), Downtown and Midtown campuses
  • University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Cardiology
  • University of Maryland School of Nursing
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore Center for Community Engagement
  • and two federally licensed health centers,Total Health Care and Chase Brexton.

Organizations were selected based on opportunities to synergize and expand efforts to provide care and services to residents of West Baltimore. “These organizations are passionate about their community and health equity, and we are about to begin a journey to collectively expand efforts to reduce cardiovascular disparities and social isolation in West Baltimore,” said Ogbolu.

Dana D. Farrakhan, DrPH, MHS, FACHE, senior vice president of strategy, community and business development at UMMC, said the RICH collaboration is key to helping West Baltimore’s health issues.

“We are thrilled to be part of this grant which will help support our patients and community members after receiving hospital care, providing much-needed social and wellness support to cope with their multiple chronic conditions,” she said. “As an anchor institution, we seek to achieve health equity in West Baltimore with our partners and to help members of our community achieve their highest quality of life.”

“Heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide, is a major driver of health disparities in America, but it is largely preventable,” Hong added. “The social determinants of health play a huge role in defining the length and quality of our lives. Through this extraordinary multidisciplinary effort, we aim to improve the lives of our community by addressing specific barriers to health, such as the social isolation felt by many people in our neighborhoods.

The RICH collaboration will be implemented in postal codes 21201, 21217, 21223 and 21229, selected due to significant racial inequalities in cardiovascular health outcomes and social determinants of health. These communities have a rich and diverse history with strong and resilient people and community organizations that can solve problems if given the right resources and support, Ogbolu said. Evidence shows significantly lower life expectancies for residents of West Baltimore neighborhoods compared to wealthier communities, such as Roland Park, a few miles away.

Beyond other social determinants of health, including unemployment and lack of access to transport and technology, evidence shows that a lack of social connections also degrades heart health. While social isolation received increased attention during the pandemic, research shows it had become a way of life in many marginalized communities, like West Baltimore, even before the pandemic. Research has shown that social isolation is as dangerous as smoking and increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and/or coronary heart disease, especially in middle-aged adults.

There is now compelling evidence to suggest that with effective, multidisciplinary team-based and culturally competent approaches, hypertension and disparities in cardiovascular outcomes can be reduced. Key interventions to be used in the West Baltimore RICH Collaborative include:

  • address social factors that impede health by connecting individuals to social resources and a primary care physician
  • improving access to care through nurse-led clinics and mobile health services
  • and leveraging expert community outreach workers to work closely with individuals to navigate needed health and social services.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore, home to UMSON, is anchored in the western part of Baltimore, along with the University of Maryland Medical Center. Both organizations are engaged as community partners to provide programs, services, support, training and activities to advance the empowerment of their neighbors while strengthening West Baltimore neighborhoods.

To arrange interviews with Yolanda Ogbolu and other RICH Collaborative participants, please contact Mary T. Phelan, Senior Media Relations Specialist, at [email protected] or 443-615-5810.

About University of Maryland School of Nursing

The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest schools of nursing in the nation and ranks among the top nursing schools in the nation. Enrolling more than 2,100 students in its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the nursing profession and impact the healthcare environment.

About the University of Maryland, Baltimore

The University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB) was founded in 1807 as Maryland College of Medicine, which today is the nation’s oldest public medical school. In response to growing social and cultural needs, UMB’s mission has evolved and grown considerably. Widely recognized as a preeminent institution, UMB is the academic college of health, law, and social work in the University System of Maryland and is guided by a mission of excellence in education, research, clinical care and public service.

UMB is a thriving academic health center combining cutting-edge biomedical research, exceptional patient care, and nationally ranked academic programs. With extramural funding totaling $682 million in fiscal year 2021, each tenured/tenure-track faculty member generates an average of $1.5 million in research grants each year. The 3,123 faculty members conduct cutting-edge research and develop solutions and technologies that impact human health locally and globally. World-class facilities and hubs, as well as interprofessional centers and institutes, allow faculty to investigate pressing issues in a highly collaborative way. As a result, over 7,200 students, postdocs and interns directly benefit from working and learning alongside leading experts as they push the boundaries of their fields. For a list of organized research centers and institutes, visit https://www.umaryland.edu/research/umb-research-profile/research-centers-and-institutions/

Norma A. Roth