Newly expanded grant portfolio will support programs in all phases of development and dissemination to transform care for vulnerable populations

New York, NY, Nov. 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- To accelerate the development and scale of forward thinking nursing-driven models of care, the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation (RAHF) has added two new grant programs to its portfolio of Innovation grants and announced today that it will award more than $1.6 million in funding to seven projects to improve the health of vulnerable populations.

The two new grant programs will bookend the Foundation’s flagship Hillman Innovations in Care Program (HIC) to create a pipeline for innovation. The first of the new grants—the Hillman Emergent Innovation Program—will provide funding for early-stage prototype and pre-evidence work. The second program—the Hillman Innovation Dissemination Program—will support scaling efforts for an established, evidence-based nursing-driven model of care ready for national dissemination. The Hillman Foundation’s Innovation portfolio (Emergent Innovation, Innovations in Care, Innovation Dissemination) will support projects in all phases of the innovation lifecycle, from pilots and prototypes to broad-based implementation. Awards this year will serve a diverse set of populations and focus on opioid addiction, maternal mental health, advance care planning, traumatic injury rehabilitation, intimate partner violence, adolescent sexual health, and aging in place.

“This expansion of our grantmaking speaks to the diversity and quality of nursing-driven efforts that seek to remove barriers and bring more equitable and person-centered care to people who desperately need it,” said Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “We feel privileged to play a role in helping to nurture, develop, and scale this important work.” 

Funding will be awarded to a total of seven grantees across the three Hillman Innovations programs. Brief descriptions of the projects follow.

Providing Support for New Ideas: the Hillman Emergent Innovation Program
The Hillman Emergent Innovation Program provides $50,000, one-year awards to accelerate the development of bold, new interventions targeting the needs of vulnerable populations. “Funders tend to shy away from this stage of development, despite the fact that support is vital,” said Rachael Watman, Vice President of Programs at the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “Risk taking is key in launching work that has the capacity to radically reimagine and improve how care is delivered to communities in need.”

The Hillman Emergent Innovation Program grants for 2017 will support:

  • A palliative care intervention in primary care clinics for vulnerable populations with high-risk diabetes. Principal Investigators: Abisola Odujinrin, RN, and Carin van Zyl, MD, Section Head of Palliative Medicine at Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Medical Center. Nurses are often successful “interpreters” of complex medical information. To improve outcomes for high-risk patients with poorly controlled diabetes at this safety net hospital, palliative care nurses will train primary care nurses to run group visits and provide diabetes case management. Community health workers who already work with this patient population—which includes many undocumented, poor, non-English speakers who may not understand the details or the seriousness of their condition—will offer advance care planning counseling, encouraging conversations and the completion of advance directive documents.

  • A technology-assisted program for long-term care of traumatic injuries among low-income urban populations. Principal Investigator: Sara Jacoby, PhD, MPH, RN, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Center Investigator at the Penn Injury Science Center. Conventional trauma care is siloed, making it particularly difficult for disenfranchised people to achieve a full recovery. Through the use of wearable devices like wrist monitors and a web-based platform called Way to Health (WTH), which uses the tech devices many people already have (e.g., cell phones and computers), this program will redefine the scope of conventional trauma care and allow nurses to follow recovery metrics like physical activity and sleep patterns, and develop referral mechanisms and incentivize recovery-promoting behaviors.

  • A smartphone application to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) among young adult Latino immigrants. Principal Investigator: Rosa M. Gonzalez-Guarda, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor at Duke University School of Nursing. Latino immigrants in the United States are disproportionately affected by IPV, defined as physical, sexual, or psychological violence between current or former romantic partners. The app, Culturaciόn: Cultura y Relaciones Intimás (Culture and Intimate Relationships), addresses the risks and protective factors for IPV among Latino immigrants between the ages of 18 and 29, including adverse childhood experiences, acculturation stress, cultural norms influencing relationship power and communication, fewer help-seeking behaviors, and lack of access to culturally-specific health services. Participants will also learn healthy and practical ways to manage stressors in their intimate relationships. A key partner will be the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families at Casa de Esperanza.

  • Parents ASSIST, a program to help gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) teenage boys avoid HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by equipping their parents with communications skills to have affirming and supportive discussions with them. Principal Investigator: Dennis Flores, PhD, ACRN, Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Parents ASSIST will offer skill-building techniques for parents and help them overcome perceived impediments to communication with their sons, and may be the first project to present GBQ topics and communication modelling skills for parents through a dedicated website.

Positioning programs for national impact: the Hillman Innovations in Care Program
Launched in 2014, the Hillman Innovations in Care Program is one of the Foundation’s defining initiatives and provides $600,000 over three years to mature programs that already have strong preliminary evidence behind them and that improve the health and health care of vulnerable populations, including the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBQT, the homeless, rural populations, and other groups that encounter barriers to accessing health care services. A list of previous grantees is available here

The Hillman Innovations in Care Program grants for 2017 will support: 

  • Expansion of the Nightingale Perinatal Assistance and Treatment Home (PATHway) Program. Principal Investigator: Kristin Ashford, PhD, WHNP-BC, FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. With the nation in the grip of a deadly opioid epidemic, Kentucky leads the nation in perinatal substance use disorders (SUD), but the majority of women are unable to access essential services. To improve care for new and expectant mothers with opioid addiction and dependence and their children through the first two years of life, this person- and family-centered program will use a web-based training program for nurse facilitators and expand existing perinatal addiction and peer support services. Hillman funding will support expansion of the program, first locally in Kentucky, and ultimately nationally, to increase access and improve health outcomes for pregnant and parenting women and their infants.

  • The national launch of a newly developed Mental Health Innovation (MHI), as part of Nurse-Family Partnership®. Principal Investigator: Linda Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. This will be the first U.S. home-visiting program with an integrated mechanism for mental health care, and will help low-income, first-time mothers with debilitating levels of depression and anxiety. Hillman funds will support implementation and evaluation to enable Nurse-Family Partnership to integrate much-needed behavioral health care throughout its nationwide network of more than 264 implementing agencies. The program will evaluate specific, measurable results including pre- and post-natal pregnancy outcomes for mothers and infants, smoking cessation, second pregnancy postponement, educational attainment, parenting skill, child social-emotional health, accidents, emergency department visits, incidents of abuse, and fatalities.

Taking Success to Scale: the Hillman Innovation Dissemination Program
The Hillman Innovation Dissemination Program aims to expand and enhance the scaling efforts of established nursing-driven interventions that target the needs of vulnerable populations. This $200,000 grant will be given annually.

The Hillman Innovation Dissemination Program grant for 2017 will support:  


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.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/7ebdcdb7-4cd1-4bcd-8473-3980bf88aaa6


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