Monthly archives: January, 2016

UIC Awarded Health Career Opportunity Program Grant For Minorities

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Colleges of Dentistry and Medicine, and the UIC School of Public Health, are collaborating to implement the Illinois Health Professions Navigator Program. The program was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Federal Health Services Resources Administration (HRSA) for $650,000 per year for a total of $1.9 million.

Dr. Darryl Pendleton, Associate Dean for Student and Diversity Affairs at the College of Dentistry, is a Co-Principal Investigator and the College of Dentistry Director for the program.

“The purpose of the Navigator Program is twofold: to increase the underrepresented minority student enrollment and retention in the UIC health sciences colleges by increasing the number of competitive applicants, and to strengthen UIC’s relationships with local and regional partners to provide clinical and research experience for high school, college, and professional students,” Dr. Pendleton said.

“The funding will allow the College to expand our existing underrepresented minority, low income, and disadvantaged student recruitment and enrollment efforts,” he continued. “In essence, the Navigator Program will help identify and address barriers that students face in their educational journey from high school to a health science career.”

Dr. Pendleton noted that, “At the College, our efforts to recruit and enroll underrepresented minorities are impacted not only by the challenges students face, but also due to the high cost of dental education and our small class size that makes every seat more competitive. Our campaigns to provide more student scholarships and increasing the DMD class size will help.”

The HRSA recognizes that certain minority populations are underrepresented in dentistry and in dental schools. It also recognizes that UIC is a leader in training underrepresented minorities in the health professions.

“We are excited that they have agreed to fund the Navigator Program,” Dr. Pendleton concluded. “It is our goal that in three to four years, we hope to see program outcomes that result in more underrepresented students applying and enrolling in our College.”

For more information regarding the program, contact Dr. Pendleton at dpendle@uic.edu.


Students Offer Dental Care At Suburban CURE Event

The CURE (Collaborative Underserved Relief and Education) Network, which offers free dental, medical, and vision care to the uninsured and underinsured in the Chicagoland area, held an event providing healthcare in LaGrange Park, IL, this past fall.

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry students Dante Brown, Jihan Doss, and Mark White, along with faculty member Dr. Robert Rada, Clinical Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, provided both preventive care and extractions of infected teeth.

The students are in the Public Health and Advocacy track overseen by Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences, at the College of Dentistry.

A total of 308 patients visited the event, and about two-thirds of them received both dental and vision services. Equipment was provided by the Mission of Mercy organization, which also provides free healthcare to the needy. About 50 dental chairs were organized in hygiene, oral surgery, and restorative sections. Patients were triaged and walked to and from the appropriate section by volunteers.

“The unique part is that our students provided the dental care,” Dr. Rada explained. “They did not simply assist dentists from the community. This is possible because of a contractual agreement I have with UIC so that they may provide care under my supervision. This agreement is similar to the site agreement at various community sites.”

Dr. Rada noted that, “Our Public Health and Advocacy track students performed compassionately and confidently. We can be certain that these young doctors have a special gift that they are sharing with those less fortunate.”

Dr. Rada found it “really rewarding to me to hear the local dentists and Midwestern University dental students admiring the fact that Dante, Jihan, and Mark were actually providing the care,” he said. “I might add that they were not given ‘easy’ cases and that they were exposed to some challenging procedures. I was really proud to be working with them. It was great to welcome our young UIC dentists into the profession at this event.”

“This was an amazing, well-organized public health event that provided essential healthcare services all in one stop,” Brown said. “It was evident how appreciative the patients were. Through Dr. Rada we were able to provide the dental services, instead of just assist.”

Since its inception in 2010, the CURE network has provided more than $27 million in free care to more than 4,000 patients.

For more information, log on to www.curenetwork.org


Teacher Benefit Cuts Won’t Lead to Taxpayer Savings

Darren Lubotsky

Darren Lubotsky, associate professor of economics.

Cutting benefits for teachers or other public-sector workers may not save taxpayers as much as one might think, according to a new University of Illinois at Chicago study.

“Rising health insurance costs don’t translate into dollar-for-dollar increases in the costs of public education” or in taxes, says Darren Lubotsky, UIC associate professor of economics. The study is published in the December issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

Much of the cost of health insurance is passed onto the teachers themselves, because most contracts stipulate that a portion of the cost be deducted from teachers’ salaries.

Lubotsky and Craig Olson, alumni professor at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations on the Urbana-Champaign campus, analyzed pay and health insurance costs for Illinois public school teachers between 1991 and 2008. They found that teachers’ take-home pay fell by about $17 dollars for each $100 increase in the cost of individual insurance and by about $46 for each $100 increase in the cost to cover family members.

Teachers in districts with older workforces tend to pay a larger share of their insurance costs.

“This is not surprising, since health care use rises with age, and people who use more medical care tend to be willing to pay more for insurance,” Lubotsky said.

Many speculate that rising costs for employer-provided insurance will raise costs for districts, or lead them to cease offering coverage. But Lubotsky said the results of this study “suggest those fears may be exaggerated, since a fraction of these costs are passed on to teachers.”

Lubotsky said the study is unique, because the authors had access to public school pay scales, insurance premiums, and cost sharing arrangements for all school districts in Illinois for nearly 20 years — a wealth of data generally not available for private-sector firms.

“Our research is the first to document the important role for employees’ premium contributions toward their health insurance,” Lubotsky said.


UIC study to help survivors of violence

A new federal grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago aims to help survivors of violence, particularly young men of color.

Under the three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice, UIC researchers will study the experiences of black, male, violence victims, ages 18 to 24. Participants will be queried about the physical, emotional and financial injuries they suffered as a result of assaults, gang violence, hate crimes and other forms of violence — and the sources of support they used for coping.

“This grant allows UIC to be at the forefront of understanding an issue that makes headlines in the news almost every day — young black men being exposed to and victimized by violence,” says principal investigator Henrika McCoy, assistant professor in UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work.

At the outset, Tim Johnson, director of the Survey Research Laboratory in the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, and his team will develop and pilot-test a survey of crime victims in Chicago, Cook County and suburban and rural locations across Illinois. In the second and third years of the study, the team will make any needed adjustments and expand the survey in Chicago, as well as in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and other areas with some of the nation’s highest concentrations of blacks.

Study results will be used to guide the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crimes on how to respond to violence victims in other specialized groups and to inform Congress on the support services and funding needed to assist crime victims in their recovery.