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People Inc.’s Elmwood Health Center Receives Prestigious Grant with National Impact

Apr 30, 2013

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant Will Promote Research and Education on Diabetes


Diabetes is said to affect one out of every twelve adult New Yorkers according to the Department of Health. That number has doubled since 1994, and is anticipated to double again by the year 2050. Diabetes has been strongly linked to obesity and Western New York’s rate of obesity tops the New York State’s population occurrence of 25%.


It is expected that increasing patient knowledge on diabetes management and increasing health professional’s training on patient lifestyles will result in better health outcomes . A grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will allow People Inc.’s Elmwood Health Center to complete nationally recognized research and offer more resources to their Western New York patients The grant, anticipated to help health centers reduce health disparities in communities across the United States, will allow the Elmwood Health Center to focus their attention on the medical care and management of individuals with diabetes.


The RWJF grant brings the Center for Health Care Quality at George Washington University together with six health centers located in Western New York and Cleveland, OH to create the Aligning Forces for Quality Equity Improvement Initiative 2.0. The goal is to reduce health disparities in the participating communities and impact the methods of care delivery across the country. The Elmwood Heath Center, located at 2128 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, primarily serves patients in North Buffalo, Riverside and West Side of Buffalo, along with residents of Kenmore and Tonawanda.


The Elmwood Health Center will focus their attention on identifying disparities in relation to diabetes. Research will include focus groups that examine patient care and patient perception of care. The health professionals aim to pinpoint obstacles in patient’s health management and alter their own practices to better address the obstacles. A major educational component will be included with the involvement of a Diabetes Care Coordinator that will be available to aid patients who struggle to manage their health and diabetes. Ideally, the fund will allow health professionals to develop different methods of staff training and patient treatment approaches to best serve different populations. “The purpose is to gain the best understanding, give quality care and help people alter their lifestyles for the better,” said Frank Azzarelli, associate vice president of People Inc. and director of the Elmwood Health Center.


It is critical to learn about the whole person, such as their ethnicity, race, religious affiliation and any other characteristics that may impact an individual’s lifestyle, eating habits and ultimately the success of the medical care they receive. “The staff will be educated on each patient’s cultural or religious beliefs and other aspects which may impact the individual’s health,” added Azzarelli.


The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a nonprofit health policy resource center dedicated to improving health care access and quality. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care in the United States.


Founded in 1994, the Elmwood Health Center provides primary and specialty care services to a diverse patient base and is recognized locally for its care of those with special needs. People Inc. is a not-for-profit health and human services agency providing programs and services to more than 10,000 people with special needs, their families, and seniors throughout Western New York. Since 1971, People Inc. has assisted individuals to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity.


Contact: Kevin Horrigan, Public Affairs Director

Direct: 716-817-7475   Cell: 716-866-5893