PhRMA awards $75,000 to fund initiatives to reduce health inequities

The recipients of the PhRMA CAREs grant program are addressing the alarming health inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19 with practical interventions.

Lori ReillyJuly 1, 2021

PhRMA awards $75,000 to fund initiatives to reduce health inequities.

As part of PhRMA’s continuing commitment to build a more just and equitable health care system, we recently awarded $75,000 through our Collaborative Actions to Reach Equity (CAREs) grant program to fund three initiatives aimed at reducing inequities and improving health outcomes.

While PhRMA’s member companies continue to work tirelessly to find medicines and vaccines to combat COVID-19, we also recognize the need for evidence-based research and cross-sector partnership to address health inequities experienced by communities of color, many of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency. We are committed to working to fix the health care system so it works better for all Americans, and this is one piece in a series of solutions we have put forward to improve equitable health outcomes and patient access to health care and medicines.

The following initiatives will receive $25,000 each:

Breaking Down Barriers to COVID-19 Vaccination for African and African Americans | Bridge-Pamoja in Portland, Ore.

Bridge-Pamoja is a network of faith leaders and culturally specific organizations dedicated to addressing unique needs of African and African American communities in the Portland, Oregon area through grassroots and community-based efforts. Bridge aims to break down barriers to the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines by local African and African American communities using a three-pronged approach: 1) partner with state officials to track how many Africans and African Americans successfully complete doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 2) monitor how the state government partners with Black-led organizations (including houses of worship) for outreach to the African and African American communities regarding COVID-19 vaccination, and 3) host virtual forums with Black community and faith leaders to address the successes and challenges of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination outreach process.

Pastor Levell Thomas“Funding awarded to Bridge-Pamoja from the PhRMA’s Collaborative Actions to Reach Equity (CAREs) program will help build our capacity to advance our work to address the racial disparities associated with COVID-19 vaccination especially among the African and African American community. We are in a defining moment in our state and nation to take bold action to reimagine an inclusive system of health care.” – Pastor Levell Thomas, CEO and President, Bridge-Pamoja

Exploring Patient and Caregiver Beliefs on Remote Patient Monitoring to Decrease Disparities in Medication Adherence among Children with Asthma | Children’s Mercy Kansas City Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

African American children are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from asthma than white children due in part to socioeconomic and environmental factors that frequently lead to suboptimal medication adherence. Electronic medication monitoring is the gold standard for assessing inhaler adherence and has been shown in research studies to improve outcomes, but one challenge to uptake of this remote patient monitoring technology in real life is concern relating to data privacy and security. As part of upstream work to improve adherence and outcomes in high-risk populations, the Advanced Asthma Interdisciplinary Respiratory Clinic at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, which serves children with severe asthma who are primarily African American and/or covered by Medicaid, will undertake research to better understand patient and caregiver attitudes and concerns regarding the use of this technology, as well as anticipated barriers.

Nadine Mokhallati“Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Racial minorities (namely African Americans and Hispanics) carry a higher asthma morbidity and mortality burden. The CAREs grant will help us develop and conduct a survey exploring child and caregiver attitudes toward remote patient monitoring devices for asthma, their concerns and anticipated benefits and barriers. We will use the results of this survey to determine best practices to integrate this technology into our severe asthma clinic with the goal of improving medication adherence. Our project not only has the potential to have a significant impact on improving asthma outcomes in this high-risk population, but also to serve as a framework for other asthma clinics around the country to incorporate technologies in real-world clinical practice to optimize patient care.”– Nadine Mokhallati, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Addressing Racial Disparities in Medication Utilization and Adherence | Florida A&M University and University of Florida in Tallahassee and Gainesville, Fla.

Racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes may be attributed to several factors, including low utilization of and poor adherence to evidence-based and curative therapies, as well as lack of health insurance. The current COVID-19 pandemic is an example of the pervasiveness of racial health disparities in the U.S. Researchers at Florida A&M University and the University of Florida aim to review current approaches to address racial and ethnic disparities in medication utilization/adherence and identify a targeted set of recommendations to decrease those disparities in Florida.

Askal Ali“The PhRMA CAREs grant will help support our efforts in implementing meaningful health interventions that address the needs of minority and underserved populations. Adherence to medication is a major issue, and this grant will benefit residents all over the state of Florida.” – Askal Ali, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Economics, Social and Administrative Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (IPH), Florida A&M University.

To learn more about PhRMA’s Collaborative Actions to Reach Equity (CAREs) grant program, click here. Learn more about PhRMA’s equity efforts at

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