In summer 2021, the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation provided Chicago Medical School with funding for two full-ride scholarships for students from underrepresented populations in medicine. The foundation has expanded its commitment to advancing health equity through an $877,200 grant to establish the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation Center for Health Equity Research at Rosalind Franklin University. This gift, which was announced in March 2022, will cultivate new and leverage existing community partnerships to actively collaborate on and examine the measurable, systemic, avoidable and unjust differences in health between groups, stemming from differences in levels of social advantage and disadvantage.
“The support from the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation for the newly formed Center for Health Equity Research is essential to the future of this center,” said Ronald S. Kaplan, PhD, executive vice president for research. “We are finishing up a national search for the director of this center and the foundation’s support will allow building out the center’s cores, which together with the director’s efforts, are fundamental to its success.”
While there is overwhelming evidence in the medical field that health disparities are real, there is currently limited research to support the development of effective strategies to reduce or eliminate these disparities. The Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation’s philanthropic partnership to provide scholarships to create this new center is an important step in reducing health disparities.
“Scholarships that promote equal access to medical education, and investments in research to better understand and remedy the unjust difference in health between groups with different levels of social advantage and disadvantage, are both paramount to addressing health inequities in our communities,” said CMS Dean Archana Chatterjee, MD, PhD.
The center will leverage Rosalind Franklin University’s community partnerships to develop and test outcome-based interventions to reduce inequity and prevent chronic disease, as well as provide the data needed to help community leaders, healthcare providers and Lake County citizens work together to implement meaningful solutions that will make a difference.
Stephanie Geier is executive director of RFU’s Stewardship and Advancement Services.