Jefferson Researchers Receive $3.1 Million Grant to Reduce Need for Emergency Diabetes Care in Older African Americans

A team of researchers from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson has received a major $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to reduce the need for emergency diabetes care in older African Americans.

"This grant extends Jefferson's research and clinical strengths into the community to reduce racial health disparities," said principal investigator Barry Rovner, MD, Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Ophthalmology at Jefferson. "The prevalence of diabetes, the racial diversity of our patients and the need for high-value care are all increasing. This award will enable us to meet these challenges and achieve health equity for all."

About 40 percent of African Americans with diabetes go to the emergency department each year, and 24 percent use the emergency department as their usual place of care (vs. 13 percent of whites), Dr. Rovner said. These disparities reflect racial differences in socioeconomic, medical, environmental and person-level factors.

The study will explore how poor access to primary care and poor diabetes self-care lead to high emergency department use in African Americans. In particular, the research will compare the efficacy of community care to prevent diabetes emergencies (COPDE) vs. enhanced usual care (EUC) to reduce the incidence of diabetes-related emergency department visits and/or hospitalizations. COPDE is a collaborative intervention of primary care physicians, a diabetes nurse educator and community health workers that aims to improve access to care and diabetes self-care.

Other members of the Jefferson research team receiving the $3,095,504 grant include Robin Casten, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry; Judd Hollander, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine; Kristin Rising, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; and Anna Marie Chang, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine.