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UHC Awarded Grant to Study Social Determinants of Health and COVID-19 in Philadelphia

December 6, 2021

Pricila Mullachery, PhD, MPH, senior research scientist at the Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) was recently awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Data for Action (HD4A) program, managed by AcademyHealth, to study social determinants of health (SDOH) and COVID-19 in a diverse of cohort patients in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Leslie McClure, PhD, MS, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dornsife School of Public Health, and Usama Bilal, MD, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at the UHC, will be co-investigators in this study.

The goal of the study is to contribute to the knowledge on COVID-19 inequities and identify population groups and communities at greater risk for adverse COVID-19 outcomes. The researchers will use patient-level longitudinal electronic health records from a cohort of patients in the HealthShare Exchange (HSX) Clinical Data Repository linked to neighborhood-level data for several socioeconomic and built environment characteristics. They will assess whether individual- and neighborhood-level indicators of SDOH predict COVID-19 hospitalization and deaths in a large and diverse cohort of patients. The researchers will also identify and validate a set of indicators of SDOH that can be used to guide policy by identifying communities at high risk of exposure to and adverse outcomes from COVID-19, including poor and minoritized groups.