Three New Grants Advance Bold, Evidence-Based Interventions

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New York, NY (October 25, 2022) The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation (RAHF) today announced $1.5 million in grants to support three bold new programs addressing the health of marginalized populations. Representing the leading edge of nursing innovation, this year’s grant recipients leverage policy, technology, and community engagement to reduce structural inequities and improve care. The grants were awarded to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University.

Established in 2014, the Hillman Innovations in Care (HIC) program and Hillman Catalyst Awards were created to spur the development of innovations that could tackle the complex needs of communities that experience discrimination, oppression and indifference. These populations include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), the economically disadvantaged, LGBTQ+ people, people experiencing homelessness, rural populations, refugees, and others.

“Nursing must play a critical role in creating a more equitable and just healthcare system,” said Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation. “We believe nursing – especially in collaboration with other disciplines and through deep community engagement – is a powerful force for change.”

A Multifaceted Approach to Advancing Health Equity Through Housing Policy

The link between housing and health is well established. Building on earlier work funded by a 2021 Hillman Catalyst Award, a multi-disciplinary research team – combining nurses and urban planners with officials from housing, public health, and environmental agencies – will harness big data and community knowledge to rethink, and potentially reshape, a key federal housing program. This visionary project from the University of Pennsylvania will utilize HIC funding to show how integrating health-affecting neighborhood characteristics into the distribution criteria of housing subsidy programs can contribute to better health for low-income families.

Principal Investigator: Sara Jacoby, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN, University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Housing Initiative at Penn

Harnessing Telehealth to Care for Sexual Assault Victims in Rural America

Sexual assault rates are higher in rural communities than in cities, yet those living in rural areas rarely have access to specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs). A team from Penn State’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center will leverage its network of SANEs and its nurse-designed, proprietary technology to deliver secure, trauma-informed sexual assault care in 10 rural hospitals. With the support of HIC funding, this project will generate evidence that could position the SAFE-T Center’s system as an effective solution for providing care to sexual assault victims in a wide range of under-resourced settings.

Principal Investigator: Sheridan Miyamoto, PhD, FNP, RN, FAAN, Penn State University

Spurring the Development of a Promising Intervention to Help Chronically Ill Medicaid Patients After Hospitalization

THRIVE is a novel, equity-centered approach that provides whole-person care to Medicaid patients transitioning from hospital to home. Developed by a nurse-led interdisciplinary team at the University of Pennsylvania, results from an early pilot demonstrated a range of positive outcomes including reduced rehospitalizations. A $300,000 Hillman Catalyst Award will allow THRIVE, in partnership with Penn Medicine at Home and Pennsylvania Hospital, to expand to a second site and generate new evidence that could help to establish the intervention as a standard for delivering comprehensive transitional care to Medicaid patients and their families.

Principal Investigator: J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Pennsylvania

A roster of previous HIC and Catalyst Award grant recipients is available here.

Media Contact
Takouhi Mosoian, The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation (

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