Penn State Professor Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

June 8, 2006

(University Park, Pa) — Dr. Dennis Scanlon, associate professor of health policy and administration in the Penn State College of Health and Human Development, has been awarded a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

image of Dr. Dennis Scanlon

The funding will be used to conduct an evaluation of a new RWJF national initiative – Aligning Forces for Quality: The Regional Market Project – that aims to improve the quality of health care in local and regional communities. The Aligning Forces program will help communities advance and align three key drivers of health care quality improvement: performance measurement and public reporting; capacity to help providers improve the quality of ambulatory chronic illness care; and consumer demand. The program will examine health care markets throughout the U.S. and identify ways to engage all of the “players” in those markets — consumers, providers, health plans and employers — in quality improvement efforts.

“In its ‘Quality Chasm’ report, the Institute of Medicine challenged health care purchasers and communities to look for ways to align incentives for improving health care outcomes,” said Scanlon. “The purpose of the RWJF's Aligning Forces program is to support communities in these efforts. I'm looking forward to leading the evaluation of the impact of this important initiative.”

Scanlon’s research focuses on national efforts to reduce medical errors and improve health care quality. He is a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Research Award and also has received funding from the Centers for Disease Control, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, The California HealthCare Foundation and the Integrated Benefits Institute.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need—the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

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Editors: Dr. Scanlon can be reached at (814) 865-1925 or dxs62@psu.edu. For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at (814) 865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.