November 10, 2009


BEL ALTON, MD --- U.S. Senator Cardin (D-MD) today joined U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (MD-5), State Senator Thomas M. "Mac" Middleton (Dist. 28) and officials from the University of  Maryland School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in announcing two grants that will help reduce health disparities in minority and rural communities.


The grant announcement includes $2.5 million over two years in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to establish a telemedicine study in rural Southern and Western Maryland.  The study will focus on whether home telehealth care can close rural gaps in health care. 


A grant totally $2.4 million over two years, also from ARRA, was also announced to create a national Bioethics Research Center, which will also be funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, which is part of the NIH.  The Bioethics Research Center will study ways to reduce the lack of diversity in clinical research participation.


"We know that we are facing a health care crisis across this country.    We know that there are very clear disparities in our health care system and they fall along racial and ethnic lines. African Americans and Latino Americans in particular have less access to quality health care and are more likely to suffer from a host of diseases," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  


According to Kaiser Family Foundation studies, individuals from communities of color are more likely to be uninsured and are more likely to experience disparities in the quality of care received.  Studies have shown that members of minority communities suffer from higher infant mortality and experience disproportionately high death rates from heart disease and cancer.


"Today's announcement is an investment in our future because it will ultimately improve the health care of millions of Americans.   It is exactly due to this type of research that we have some of the best medical care in the world.   And, it is through research like this that we will tackle some of the serious problems that have made it difficult for certain minority and rural communities to get the health care they deserve," said Senator Cardin.