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Urban health program broadens community outreach efforts

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Winter/Spring


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded nearly half a million dollars to the Yale Urban Health Program over a three-year period. One of 16 Public Health Special Projects funded by HRSA this year, the Urban Health Program will use the grant to expand collaborations within the Yale medical center, the University and the greater New Haven area.

The grant allows the program's leaders to expand curricula and create new programs, including student internships and a minority fellows program. Funds will also be used to sponsor the second annual Urban Health Lecture Series, which began in late October. Lecture topics include The Effects of Pesticides on Children, School Health, Prevention of HIV Among Drug Users in New Haven, and Prenatal Cocaine Exposure.

According to Nora E. Groce, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health, the lecture series highlights some critical issues facing the urban community today, including violence prevention, homelessness and abuse.

"The HRSA grant will help us get some of the most talented and motivated public health, medical and nursing students working together to improve the well-being of people in urban communities," says Dr. Groce, principal investigator for the grant and one of three co-directors of the Urban Health Program.

The Urban Health Program, created in 1995 with a planning grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, fosters interaction between students at Yale, faculty and the community. According to Dr. Groce, the program aims to bring more community practitioners into the University to share their experiences and expertise.

Executive advisors include Michael H. Merson, M.D., dean for public health; Ralph I. Horwitz, M.D., chair of internal medicine; and Margaret Grey, Dr.P.H., associate dean for research and doctoral studies at the School of Nursing. The co-directors include Dr. Groce, Patrick G. O'Connor, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, general medicine, and Martha Swartz, R.N., M.S., associate professor of nursing. The program's coordinating director is Wanda Anderson Harris, M.Ed., M.P.A.

"We want the program to produce a generation of students who can leave Yale with invaluable experiences on the cutting edge of urban health challenges," says Wanda Harris.