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York Gets $2 million federal grant to address health disparities

Health disparities have long been of concern in the United States and becoming more acute as the population becomes more diverse and new health challenges emerge.
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That is why York’s Interim Provost Derrick Brazill and Dean Maureen Becker, collaborated on a US Department grant opportunity to address the vexing problem in the Southeast Queens community. Under the direction of Dr. Brazill, and managed by Dr. Becker, York College was recently awarded a $2,000.000 US Department of Education grant titled, “Holistic Study of Health Disparities Initiatives at York College,” to support this effort.

The benefits of this grant are numerous, including improving population health, wellness and safety by providing effective healthcare tools and information, creating a steady supply of well-trained, inventive and diverse healthcare professionals, increasing health literacy and access. It is estimated that health disparity costs the US approximately $133 billion per year in excess medical care costs and loss of productivity. York College is deeply committed to healthcare, racial equity, social justice, and social mobility. York takes seriously its role as part of its “steward of place” in a community that has historically been underserved. 

The differential impact of the COVID pandemic on various demographic groups has magnified many longstanding disparities. These include, but are not limited to in healthcare, housing and food insecurity. Given the multi-faceted nature of the problem, a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach is needed to study and address it in a multi-leveled manner and York College is perfectly positioned to serve in this way. The college's School of Health Sciences and Professional Programs, over which Dr. Becker is dean, annually graduates hundreds of trained professionals to serve the borough, city, state and nation.

“The grant is symbolic of the support the elected-officials of Southeast Queens have given York College and the community at-large,” said Dean Becker, who is also interim dean of the School of Business and Information Systems. “This federal funding will add to the state-of-the-art equipment that York College already has, which enables us to educate, train and graduate the highest quality healthcare professionals, who can then serve under-representative groups, narrowing the health disparities gap.”

Dr. Becker added that the funding “will also allow studies to occur over the next three years, including both York College faculty and students, focused on identifying what currently is occurring, and how through our findings/data, we (York), can be a community agent of change and betterment for all.”

Dr. Brazill, for his part, has expressed the import of York’s opportunity to meet an important moment in the community.

“York College is deeply committed to healthcare, racial equity, social justice, and social mobility in Southeast Queens, a community that has historically been underserved,” said Dr. Brazill. “The benefits of this project are numerous, including improving population health, wellness and safety by providing effective healthcare tools and information, creating a steady supply of well-trained, inventive and diverse healthcare professionals, increasing health literacy and access.”

According to the York College Office of Sponsored Research, “the goal of this grant is to train the next generation of health professionals and social workers through the implementation of innovative pedagogies and through research opportunities on transdisciplinary projects examining the causes of differential health outcomes and ways to address them.”

Congratulations to everyone involved in this transformative grant!

 

 


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