Public Release: 

McKesson Foundation awards $1.3 million in 6 Mobilizing for Health Research grants

Researchers studying how mobile technology can help patients manage diabetes

JMPR Associates, Inc.

San Francisco, CA - February 22, 2011 - The McKesson Foundation today announced the six recipients of $1.3 million in research grants as part of its Mobilizing for Healthsm initiative to improve the health of underserved populations with chronic diseases through the use of mobile-phone technology. The Mobilizing for Healthsm grants, of up to $250,000 each, will support studies on diabetes care and management at six esteemed U.S. institutions. The Mobilizing for Health grant program dedicates $1.5 million annually to research grants and field-building activities, such as mobile health conference support and other mHealth field building activities.

Mobile health, or "mHealth," is a term used for the practice of medicine that relies on wireless devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs and remote monitoring devices, to improve patient care.

The studies will examine a range of mobile-health technology options from sending simple SMS text messages to patients to remind them to take their medications to a comprehensive mobile phone-based software program that is integrated with patients' electronic medical records. Each study will be completed within one year, several will test bilingual (Spanish and English) messaging strategies, and all are designed around patient populations served by community health clinics.

"These studies are part of an ongoing Foundation effort to tie innovative technologies to low-cost, scalable health solutions in order to better help patients manage their chronic conditions," noted Carrie Varoquiers, president of the McKesson Foundation. "Through initiatives like Mobilizing for Healthsm, the McKesson Foundation is committed to increasing access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for all."

The first cycle of Mobilizing for Healthsm grant recipients are:

Joshua Cohen, M.D., and Neal Sikka, M.D., of George Washington University
SMS messaging to reduce emergency department visits for people with diabetes

Samir Patel M.D., of George Washington University
Enhancing diabetes and hypertension self-management: A randomized trial of a mobile phone strategy

Lawrence Cheskin, M.D., FACP, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health
Tailored Rapid Interactive Mobile Messaging (TRIMM) for weight control among the underserved

Kevin Clauson, Pharm.D., of Nova Southeastern University
Pilot study to assess the impact of SMS/text messages on medication adherence for Type 2 diabetes

David Lindeman, MSW, Ph.D., of the Public Health Institute
Patient-centered mHealth: New horizons in diabetes care at Family Health Centers of San Diego

Sanjay Arora, M.D., Michael Menchine, M.D., and Anne Peters, M.D., at the University of Southern California
Improving diabetes care for low-income Latino patients in the Los Angeles County healthcare system

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The Impact of Diabetes

Diabetes poses a serious and growing health risk in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association:

    25.8 million American children and adults have diabetes (8.3% of the population)
  • 79 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes
  • $174 billion was spent in the United States in 2007 on direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as work loss and premature mortality
  • Minority populations disproportionately suffer from diabetes and diabetes-related complications

The McKesson Foundation pledged to put diabetes management at the forefront of its Mobilizing for Healthsm grant program when it launched the initiative in April 2010, and will continue to focus its funding priorities on diabetes management and research through March 2012.

About the McKesson Foundation

Founded in 1943, the McKesson Foundation envisions a world where affordable, quality healthcare is available to all. The foundation is dedicated to supporting McKesson employees' community involvement efforts and improving the health of patients through improved healthcare quality, personal health management, and lower healthcare costs. To that end, each year the McKesson Foundation contributes more than $5 million to nonprofit organizations working in our communities.

Beginning in 2009, the Foundation's funding area has been chronic disease management in the United States, with a near-term focus on diabetes. The Mobilizing for Healthsm initiative complements the foundation's continued support of diabetes management programs at community health centers.

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