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AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE POLICY AND RESEARCH TO FUND TWO RESEARCH EFFORTS

 AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE POLICY AND RESEARCH
 TO FUND TWO RESEARCH EFFORTS
 WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Public Health Service's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research today announced that it has funded two major new research efforts -- one to prevent low birthweight in minority and high-risk women and another to improve the treatment and management of schizophrenia as well as the effectiveness of services for persons with the disease.
 J. Jarrett Clinton, M.D., AHCPR's administrator, announced the two new contracts, which total roughly $10 million. The studies are AHCPR's newest Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT) projects. PORTs are five-year projects that examine how different ways of diagnosing, treating, managing or preventing clinical conditions affect patient morbidity, mortality, quality of life and other factors.
 The PORT on low birthweight in minority and high-risk women is being funded under a $4.8 million contract awarded to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The study is led by Robert L. Goldenberg, M.D. The project also involves the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Abt Associates, Inc.
 "Low birthweight is a leading cause of infant mortality -- one of the nation's most critical public health problems," said Clinton. "One way of preventing this problem is to find out which elements of prenatal care work the best for different patients."
 Although previous research has shown that adequate prenatal care is related to better pregnancy outcomes, especially for minority women, it is not clear which components of prenatal care actually affect pregnancy outcome and which components are most effective with which population groups. Goldenberg's team will collect clinical, administrative and other data from a number of sites to determine the best and most cost-effective ways to reduce the incidence of low birthweight among minority and low-income women.
 The second PORT, "Schizophrenia Patient Outcomes Research Team," is a $5.2 million project jointly funded by AHCPR and the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health. The PORT is under the direction of Anthony Lehman, M.D., of the University of Maryland's Department of Psychiatry, in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
 Lehman's team will analyze the relative effectiveness of various treatments for schizophrenia, a devastating, progressive mental disease that primarily strikes young people in their productive years and is characterized by a wide range of disturbed thought and bizarre behavior patterns. At least 2 million Americans have some form of the disease, with markedly reduced abilities to function on a daily level. The way the disease progresses also differs greatly among patients. Because the complex symptoms have resulted in a variety of treatments in medical and non-medical settings, the focus of Lehman's study will be to identify the most effective treatments and services for different patients in various health care settings.
 AHCPR currently is supporting 12 other PORTS on the following subjects: heart attack, ischemic heart disease, stroke prevention, prostate disorders, back pain, diabetes, childbirth, hip fracture repair and osteoarthritis, total knee replacement, cataract, gall bladder disease and pneumonia. The objective of PORTS, other AHCPR research programs, and clinical practice guidelines, is to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care, reduce or eliminate ineffective or inappropriate care, give patients and payers more value for their health care dollars, and reduce overall health care costs.
 -0- 10/23/92
 /CONTACT: Bob Isquith of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, 301-227-8370/ CO: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


MH -- DC015 -- 4167 10/23/92 12:36 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 23, 1992
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