Oct 15, 2021 - News
Penn researchers score $10M grant to study racial health disparities
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Photo courtesy of Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia researchers scored a nearly $10 million federal grant to study how investments in predominantly Black neighborhoods in the city can affect racial health disparities and violent crime.

Why it matters: Philly's poverty rate — currently at 23% — has remained high for decades. And Black residents experience poverty at far higher rates than their white counterparts, according to 2019 U.S. Census data.

  • A recent study found that investing in repairs for even a single house on a Philadelphia block reduced crime on that block by nearly 22%.

Driving the news: The National Institutes of Health recently awarded the grant to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

  • They'll work across 60 Black neighborhoods in Philly as part of the five-year study, Penn Medicine revealed Thursday.

What they're doing: Half of the participants in the research will receive economic and environmental interventions as part of the study, according to Penn Medicine.

  • Communities will receive tree plantings and trash cleanup, as well as help rehabilitating abandoned and dilapidated homes, among other things.
  • Households will be connected with local, state and federal benefits.

What they're saying: "Black communities are centered in this proposal," said Dr. Eugenia South, a lead researcher for the study, in a news release.

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