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HHS Study for HIV+ Women of Color Quality of HIV Care
 
 
  five-year grant by HHS HIV/AIDS Bureau
 
Grasso to play key technical role within platform designed to enhance access to and retention in quality HIV care for women of color

 
HOBOKEN, N.J. - Dr. S. Vincent Grasso, a member of the Stevens Healthcare Information Technology Management Advisory Board and Seminar Leader for the Stevens Healthcare Educational Partnership (SHEP), will act as technical lead, solution provider and systems integrator within a nation-wide initiative to enhance the quality of care to women of color suffering from HIV/AIDS. The US Department of Health and Human Services is the funding agency for the project, which will be implemented in urban centers across America.
 
The Principal Investigator for the grant is Arthur E. Blank, Ph.D., a well-known Associate Professor within both the Departments of Family & Social Medicine and Epidemiology & Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.
 
The issue is of particular importance, Grasso said, based on recent HIV data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the August 2008 report:
 
- Women accounted for 26 percent of the estimated 37,163 diagnoses for adults and adolescents.
 
- Of the 126,964 women living with HIV/AIDS, 64 percent were black, 19 percent were white, 15 percent were Hispanic, 1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native.
 
- The rate of AIDS diagnosis for black women (45.5/100,000 women) was approximately 23 times the rate for white women (2.0/100,000) and four times the rate for Hispanic women (11.2/100,000).
 
- An estimated 95,959 women were living with AIDS, representing 23 percent of the estimated 421,873 people living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
 
"It is a great privilege to work with researchers such as Dr. Blank and others at Einstein/Montefiore on this grant," said Grasso. "Despite the benefits that advanced healthcare IT is delivering to many organizations, HIV/AIDS clinics around the world that treat the medically and economically disadvantaged possess technically related requirements that are currently not fully met. The team, strategic partners, and solutions that are finally assembled will certainly meet the grant expectations and are expected to exceed them."
 
"The work that Dr. Grasso will lead in this major grant will result in profound benefits for many in our communities who have been afflicted with this epidemic," said Dr. Donald Lombardi, Director of the Stevens Healthcare Educational Partnership. "The work also reflects the commitment that Stevens has toward applying our reputation in applied research toward solving vexing challenges in our society."
 
"Widespread implementation of electronic health records is recognized as a crucial step toward IT-enabled healthcare reform," said Carol V. Brown, Distinguished Professor and Director of Stevens' Healthcare IT Management graduate program. "However, what is not yet widely recognized is that the Obama funds will be disbursed to healthcare providers who can demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records - not just adoption. Both hospitals and physician practices will need to invest in HIT education to achieve this goal." In addition to clinicians such as Grasso, Brown's program advisory board members include CIOs at New Jersey hospitals.
 
"I have been a panel member on several of Dr. Grasso's Health, Technology & Society Roundtables that were hosted at Stevens," said J. Anthony Forstmann, special limited partner at Forstmann Little & Co. "This award reinforces the belief of many that he has his finger on the pulse of numerous healthcare IT crises currently afflicting the healthcare vertical, and that he is proposing to deliver serious solutions."
 
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Grasso is the executive vice president for Healthcare with LGS Global Ltd., a publically traded Hyderabad-based global IT Services provider, CEO of Technology Integrations for Medical Applications (TIMA), AYUDAMOS (501c3), and Waterfront Health Care Services, a New Jersey Meadowlands Commission Business Accelerator Client. He completed his medical training at Des Moines University, his surgical residency at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Manhattan Program, Post Doctoral Fellowship in Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery within the Department of General and Endoscopic Surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine, and Medical Informatics research and development as a NASA Project Manager within the Yale University NASA Commercial Space Center for Medical Informatics and Technology Applications. In addition to the above, Grasso is creating graduate level curriculum within the domain of Healthcare IT for both Stevens and Wiley Publications.
 
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HOBOKEN, N.J. Dr. S. Vincent grasso, a member of the Stevens Healthcare Information Technology Management Advisory Board was selected to lead the technical team on a $5-million dollar grant application to develop a HIPAA compliant, web-based data entry and reporting platform.
 
The grant was submitted to the Health Research Services Administration for the creation of an Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for HIV Women of Color. The grant proposal brings together a broad range of subject matter experts from clinical and academic medicine, research, technology, finance and public policy.
 
Citing President Barack Obama's vision of improving quality healthcare to all Americans, the team is responding to a call from the Department of Health and Human Services' HIV/AIDS Bureau.
 
The issue is of particular importance, the group says, based on recent HIV data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the August 2008 report:
 
* Women accounted for 26 percent of the estimated 37,163 diagnoses for adults and adolescents.
 
* Of the 126,964 women living with HIV/AIDS, 64 percent were black, 19 percent were white, 15 percent were Hispanic, 1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native.
 
* The rate of AIDS diagnosis for black women (45.5/100,000 women) was approximately 23 times the rate for white women (2.0/100,000) and four times the rate for Hispanic women (11.2/100,000).
 
* An estimated 95,959 women were living with AIDS, representing 23% of the estimated 421,873 people living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
 
The 2005 census showed that black and Hispanic women represent 24 percent of all US women. However, women in these two groups accounted for 82 percent of the estimated total of AIDS diagnoses for women. Risk factors involved in this trend include but are not limited to a younger age at diagnosis, lack of recognition of a partner's risk factors, high risk heterosexual risk factors, substance abuse, socioeconomic issues, racial/ethnic differences and other multiple risk factors.
 
"Women of color have had a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS diagnosis as compared to their Caucasian counterparts since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981 due to a wide range of interrelated factors," said grasso. "These risk factors are also responsible for decreasing the efficiency and effectiveness of care they receive, due in part to a less than optimal technology solution at the many HIV/AIDS clinics."
 
With the adoption of new technologies, the healthcare community faces increasing challenges with regard to security and patient privacy and assembled members of the teams are eager to begin this most important task.
 
"It stands to reason that delivering a technical solution ahead of schedule would be a major step forward in disseminating best of breed solutions to the masses affordably," said J. Anthony Forstmann, managing partner, Forstmann & Co.
 
Henry A. Hill, general manager of ION Networks said, "We are pleased the award-winning line of ION secure remote management products will be leveraged in this ambitious effort to improve patient care."
 
"I look forward to being involved in this research, analyzing the related network traffic data from the perspective of optimization and security. Hopefully, this work will translate into better care for these patients," said Brian Moriarty, Director of Stevens Research Computing Information Technology.
 
"This grant application represents not only a partnership of a vanguard medical organization like Montefiore with Stevens, but the teaming of some extraordinary individuals, as reflected by the roster of participants from both organizations. By dedicating these combined resources to some very deserving objectives, we once again our demonstrating to the Metropolitan NY/NJ Community that Stevens means business in maximizing our technological and educational resources in the pursuit of taking good care of our region's healthcare," said Dr. Don Lombardi, Director of the Stevens Healthcare Educational Partnerships (SHEP).
 
Contact: Stephanie Mannino
smannino@stevens.edu
201-216-5602
Stevens Institute of Technology
 
 
 
 
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