NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation (RAHF) announced today that it has made ten new awards which reflect its commitment to provide early funding to innovative health care programs that focus on underserved populations—five through its Hillman Emergent Innovation Program and five more through its Hillman Serious Illness and End of Life Emergent Innovation Program. The grants total $500,000, with each grant providing $50,000 in support for one year.

The Hillman Emergent Innovation and Serious Illness and End of Life Emergent Innovation Programs support bold, early-stage (pre-evidence or untested) innovations that target health and health care needs for vulnerable populations, including groups that are economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, people who are homeless, rural populations, and others.

“Supporting innovative ideas early on is a key priority for us, and part of our vision for an ecosystem of projects that we can help to develop, grow, and spread,” said Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “We are privileged to support the innovative work of forward-thinking nurses who seek to advance equitable, high-quality care for those most in need.”

The growth of the Hillman Serious Illness and End of Life Emergent Innovation Program, now in its second year, reflects the foundation’s belief that nursing’s critical role in health care has much to offer in this important and challenging field.

“We were impressed with the quality of the proposals we received and the creative ways that nursing-driven innovation is improving care for the seriously ill and dying,” said Rachael Watman, Vice President of Programs at the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation.

Backing Bold New Ideas Early

For 2019, the Hillman Emergent Innovation Program will fund the following projects:

  • App to Enhance Sexual Communication Between African American Mothers and Daughters
    In 2017, nearly 75% of new HIV cases in girls aged 13-19 occurred among African American (AA) girls. This study aims to develop a culturally tailored, interactive, avatar-based intervention that will enhance sexual communication between adolescent AA girls and their mothers. 
    Principal Investigator: Teri Aronowitz, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAAN, University of Massachusetts Boston 
  • “Centering” and Empowerment: The Road to Reducing HIV and STIs in Chicago’s Sex Worker Community
    With a team comprised of sex workers, clinicians, public health scientists, and community stakeholders, this project will assess the feasibility and acceptability of adapting a community empowered group care model (Centering Healthcare) to address the HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention needs of sex workers in Chicago. 
    Principal Investigator: Randi Singer, PhD, MSN, MEd, CNM, RN, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing; in collaboration with Sex Worker Outreach Project-Chicago
  • MHISTREET Youth Initiative
    Using storytelling, peer-mentoring, and community engagement as primary tools, this people-centered intervention seeks to improve the mental health of African American youth in Southeast Washington, DC by de-stigmatizing mental illness and increasing mental health literacy. 
    Principal Investigator: Erin Athey, DNP, FNP, BSN, George Washington University
  • Nursing in the Fields: Vector-borne Illness Prevention and Detection among Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers
    Among migrant populations in high-risk agricultural jobs, the dangers of vector-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are largely unrecognized. This project uses nurses as educators and data collectors, distributing and compiling information that will be used to influence both policy and practice. 
    Principal Investigator: Sarah Maxwell, PhD, MA, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Keto Prescribed: Translating Ketogenic Research into Clinical Practice
    This nurse practitioner-led health coaching program incorporates ketogenic eating and culturally competent mental/physical health interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and increase quality of life for adult African American women. 
    Principal Investigator: Barbara Jones Warren, PhD, RN, APRN-CNS, FNAP, FAAN, The Ohio State University

A Special Focus on Serious Illness and End of Life Care

The Hillman Serious Illness and End of Life Emergent Innovation Program will support the following five projects in 2019:

  • Planting the Seeds: A Community-based Palliative Care Model for Latinos with Advanced Cancer
    Early access to palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life at the end of life, but disparities persist for Latinos with cancer. A community-based Latino Lay Health Advisor program will address the critical issue of access to advanced cancer care for Latinos in three rural counties in North Carolina. 
    Principal Investigator: Lee Ann Johnson, PhD, MSN, East Carolina University
  • Nurse-Led Advance Care Planning using PREPARE in a VA Oncology Infusion Center and Dialysis Clinic
    A pilot study to demonstrate the effectiveness and feasibility of using a licensed vocational nurse to conduct advance care planning in a diverse population of veterans who are receiving dialysis and oncology infusion services. 
    Principal Investigator: Rebecca Liddicoat Yamarik, MD, MPH, FAAHPM, HMDBC, The Tibor Rubin Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Exploring the Role of Nurses in Driving Health Equity Through Serious Illness Conversations
    This study will evaluate the quality and impact of serious illness conversations (SIC) led by nurses (compared to those facilitated by other health professionals) and will explore patients’ experiences of SIC through the lens of socio/cultural diversity to promote equity in serious illness care. 
    Principal Investigator: Seiko Izumi, PhD, RN, FPCN, Oregon Health & Science University
  • A Nurse-Led, Mobile Health-Enabled Program to Improve Communication and Support for Home Hospice Family Caregivers
    A technology-driven, nurse-led support program that aims to better address unmet family caregiver needs in hospice and increase communication for marginalized, isolated home hospice caregivers across the country. 
    Principal Investigator: Susan Lysaght Hurley, PhD, RN, Care Dimensions Inc.
  • Nurses Leading Change in Palliative Care for the Houseless with Serious Mental Illness
    This effort aims to embed a palliative care model into an existing nurse-managed primary care clinic to more effectively address the needs of the seriously mentally ill houseless population.
    Principal Investigator: Casey R. Shillam, PhD, RN, University of Portland

More information on the Hillman Emergent Innovation Program is available here. More information on the Hillman Serious Illness and End of Life Emergent Innovation Program is available here.

About the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation
The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of patients and their families through nursing-driven innovation. To this end, the foundation cultivates nurse leaders, supports nursing research, and disseminates new models of care that are critical to making the U.S. healthcare system more patient-centered, accessible, equitable, and affordable. The foundation’s goal is to leverage the power of nursing’s unique knowledge to ensure that the healthcare system can deliver the high-quality care patients need and deserve. For more information, please visit www.rahf.org.

Media Contact
Linda Le, Vice President of Operations, the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation
linda.le@rahf.org or 212-265-3115