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NIAMS Honors Its Community Partners

NIAMS recently celebrated 4 years of accomplishments for its Health Partnership Program (HPP) with the program's community partners: Washington, D.C.-area organizations and residents who represent local African American and Hispanic/Latino communities. The HPP is a community-based research program to help reduce disparities in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases among minority communities.

Rear Admiral Deborah Hopson Parham, associate administrator for HIV/AIDS at the Health Resources and Services Administration, offers remarks on behalf of the surgeon general.

The ceremony honored individuals and organizations that made the initiative possible. A poster session provided updates on the program's accomplishments and new plans, which focus on community-based research to be implemented by NIAMS and its collaborators: the departments of nursing and bioethics at the Clinical Center, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (with Howard University).

Speaking on the surgeon general's behalf, Rear Admiral Deborah Hopson Parham of the Health Resources and Services Administration, attributed HPP's success to the diversity and integrity of those committed individuals and organizations behind the program. She also mentioned that strong community relations, partnerships and leadership within a health care program are essential components for growth and success.

Dr. Gwenyth Wallen of the Clinical Center nursing department discusses with participants her study of health beliefs and health behaviors among patients with rheumatic diseases.

HPP's community partners have helped reduce barriers to participation by minorities in clinical studies. They have advised NIAMS on the needs and concerns of the local community about arthritis and medical research, and on how to promote the program to the larger metro area. Partners are involved in five program areas, including public health education, patient care, health disparities research, recruitment to research careers and community relations.

Almost 900 patients have been recruited into a natural history study of rheumatic diseases in minorities at the NIAMS Community Health Center, located in a medical suite at Unity Health Care Inc.'s Upper Cardozo Health Center. The institute has also provided training for 13 medical fellows in rheumatology in a community-based setting; sponsored internships for students in physical therapy, pharmacy and nursing; and participated in more than 100 community events to promote awareness of arthritis and medical research.

Vincent Keane (l), executive director for Unity Health Care, Inc., a community partner, greets Parham, as NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz and Unity chief medical officer Dr. Janelle Goetcheus look on.

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