UR Health Policy Scholar Wins Research Grant

July 09, 2002

Stephen J. Kunitz, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is among 13 recipients nationally this year to receive a grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program.

Kunitz’s project is entitled “Nation-States and Population Health.” He plans to explore the complex role of governments in shaping the health of their people through public health programs, political culture and institutions. RWJF awarded $268,000 for the three-year project, which will culminate in a book authored by Kunitz.

In announcing the annual Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, the foundation cited the many strains on the health-care system today: terrorism, the slowdown of the economy, the precarious situation of state and federal budgets, and rising costs. “The Investigator Awards Program has been designed to encourage the development of innovative ideas,” said David Colby, senior program officer at RWJF. “Results of these projects will provide fresh insights to inform the health-policy process.”

Kunitz said two issues have perplexed him throughout his career: how the health of certain populations is shaped by the societies in which they are embedded, and how our understanding of society and its changes influences health and disease. “I am grateful for the opportunity to explore and hopefully integrate these two themes,” he said.

RWJF, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. Since 1992, the Investigator Awards Program has granted $20.8 million to support 83 projects. This year, nine grants totaling $2.4 million were awarded to 13 recipients from a field of 232 applicants.

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