RI Foundation Grants Seed Local Medical Research

The Rhode Island Foundation is awarding more than $400,000 in seed funding to 17 promising medical research projects. The work ranges from developing data that could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of people suffering from opioid use disorder in hospital ERs to determining the impact of social media on the desire to drink.

The grants are designed to help early-career researchers advance projects to the point where they can compete for national funding. With this round of grants, the Foundation has awarded nearly $2.5 million since 2008.

“We are grateful that our generous donors provide the crucial source of seed funding that enables local researchers to purse promising medical advances,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our hope is that their successes will bring about healthier lives as well as a healthier economy.”

Johnson & Wales University received $20,300 for “Using Social Media Comments to Reduce the Desire to Drink.” The study will be led by Jonathan Noel, assistant professor in the College of Health & Wellness.

The study will test whether comments left in response to a social media post can influence the desire to drink. The study will examine the effects of those responses, including warning messages from public health organizations and responsibility messages developed by the alcohol industry.

“My hypothesis is that the pro-drinking comments will increase the desire to drink, while anti-drinking and responsible-drinking messages will be a deterrent,” Noel said.

“Social media marketing is more than just the ad message. It’s surrounded by other information we might not notice, such as basic user engagement including comments, likes and shares. If a post or ad has been liked by a friend, you are given an incentive beyond what the ads are actually presenting,” said Noel.

“From what history has taught us regarding tobacco use, in order to really see a decrease in binge drinking and the consequences of alcohol use stemming from this form of advertising, we would need to change how people engage and interact with these ads,” he said.

Rhode Island Hospital received $24,914 for “Quality Improvement of Emergency Department Opioid Use Disorder Treatment.” The study will be led by Elizabeth Samuels, M.D., MPH, MHS.

“Emergency departments (ED) can be a key point of intervention for people treated for an opioid overdose. Each overdose we treat in the ED is an opportunity to provide harm reduction services and linkage to addiction treatment,” said Samuels.

The study will assess patient use of hospital emergency services with the aim of identifying ways to improve care, including harm reduction services, medication for addiction treatment, and counseling by recovery coaches.

“Opioid overdose patients seen in the ED are at high risk of repeat overdose and opioid overdose death. By understanding utilization barriers and how services could be improved, we aim to improve care for people who use opioids to prevent future overdoses and overdose death,” she said.

The other grants are:

  • Brown University received $25,000 for “Redox Control of Immunoregulatory Factors as Targeted Therapies for Inflammation,” led by George Lisi, Ph.D.
  • Brown University received $25,000 for “Alginate Gels for the Release of Immunomodulatory Cues in Ischemic Skin Flaps,” led by Fabiola Munarin, Ph.D.
  • Rhode Island College received $23,986 for “Genetic Basis of Zebrafish Embryonic Melanoctye Migration and Pattern Formation,” led by Larissa Patterson, Ph.D.
  • Rhode Island Hospital received $25,000 for “Effect of Moveable Niches Vesicles on the Development and Mitigation of Bone Marrow Failure,” led by Sicheng Wen, Ph.D.
  • The Miriam Hospital received $25,000 for “HIV Transmitted Drug Resistance and Transmission Networks in the Northern Dominican Republic,” led by Martha Sanchez, M.D.
  • The Miriam Hospital received $24,994.46 for “Understanding Barriers to Health Care among Recently Incarcerated High-risk Women,” led by Collette Sosnowy, Ph.D.
  • The Ocean State Research Institute received $25,000 for “Cardiopulmonary Fitness, Premature Vascular Aging and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease in HIV,” led by Sebhat Erqou, Ph.D.
  • The Ocean State Research Institute received $25,000 for “Macrophages under Pressure in Right Ventricular Dysfunction Associated with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension,” led by Jamila Siamwala, Ph.D.
  • The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “Improving Dissemination of Technology-Delivered Physical Activity Interventions,” led by Lauren Bohlen, Ph.D.
  • The University of Rhode Island received $24,956 for “A Pilot Intervention to Reduce Sedentary Time among Older Adults Living in Senior Housing,” led by Mary Greaney, Ph.D.
  • The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “A Bioinspired in Situ Delivery Platform with Tunable Drug Release for Improved Cancer Therapy,” led by Jie Shen, Ph.D.
  • The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “The Effects of Obesity during Pregnancy on Offspring Pancreas DNA Methylation,” led by Maria Hoffman, Ph.D.
  • The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “Investigating Specialized Ribosomes and Gene Regulation in Francisella Tularensis,” led by Kathryn Ramsey, Ph.D.
  • The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Capacity Evaluation in Children with Cerebral Palsy,” led by Alessandra Adami, Ph.D.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $315,000 to 3 RI Organizations

As part of a $1.9 million effort to support age friendly communities in New England, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has awarded $315,000 to three Rhode Island organizations.

Recipients included Rhode Island Parent Information Network for senior wellness programs, Rhode Island Public Health Institute for its “Food on the Move” mobile markets, and Saint Elizabeth Community for its supportive housing program for seniors.

“Each community has its own unique needs. Tufts Health Plan Foundation focuses resources in communities that want to achieve age-friendly practices that are relevant, focus on underrepresented communities and engage older people in the process,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “We are proud to support organizations that are responding to the needs of older people in their communities.”

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Announces 10 Momentum Grants in RI

Ten Rhode Island organizations each will receive a grant of $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s new Momentum Fund. The fund was established to foster new ideas and support cities and towns in their efforts to make their communities better places to grow up and grow old.

“We developed the Momentum Fund to help smaller communities and organizations that want to do this work,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “They are adopting more inclusive policies, building accessible parks and public spaces, and integrating age-friendly practices.”

In addition to the 10 projects in Rhode Island, the Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Massachusetts and 7 in New Hampshire. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process.

“Many New England communities recognize older people as tremendous assets,” said Phillip González, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from communities as they innovate and collaborate to address the needs of that community.”

The first Rhode Island recipients of the Momentum Fund grants are Benjamin Church Senior Center, Inc.,  Catholic Social Services of RI, Child and Family Services of Newport County, Cranston Senior Services, Educational Center for Arts and Sciences, PACE Organization of Rhode Island, Progreso Latino, Inc., Roger Williams University, The Providence Village of Rhode Island, and Westbay Community Action Program.

More information

GCRI Corporate Members Fidelity, Tufts Health Plan Give Back on Annual Days of Service

Tufts Health Plan Employees Tackle 35 Projects in 4 States

In honor of the Tufts Health Plan (THP) Foundation’s 10th anniversary in 2018, employees of Tufts Health Plan set an ambitious goal of 10,000 volunteer hours for the year.

After a very successful annual service day, THP is more than halfway to its goal.  This year’s record-setting Volunteer Day engaged 773 Tufts Health Plan employees in giving back to communities–in total 2,100 hours through 35 projects in 4 states–all in one day.

Pictured above are employee volunteers cleaning up the playground and outdoor areas at Federal Hill House in Providence; they were getting the grounds ready for summer camp. Other projects included building beds for children; prepping gardens that will supply healthy, local, affordable food; sorting donated food, clothing and toys for families living in poverty; and making paracord survival bracelets for deployed service members.

Fidelity Employees Assist Over 100 Nonprofits on Fidelity Cares Day

1,600 Fidelity employees in New England, joined colleagues around the globe to assist 110 nonprofits for the company’s annual service day.  A total of more than 8,000 employees globally provided services that will benefit over 15,000 students and almost 1,000 teachers.

In Rhode Island, Fidelity worked with United Way of Rhode Island to provide financial success fairs at Connecting for Children and Families and Genesis Center, assistance in building an outdoor classroom with DownCity Design, refurbishing a community center with Partnership for Providence Parks, and meal packaging for Project Outreach.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Supports Efforts for Make Communities Better for All Ages Through $1.8 million in Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced nearly $1.8 million in new community investments that reflect its commitment to make cities and towns great places to grow up and grow old. The new grants will support initiatives at 16 community organizations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire working to make communities healthier for people of all ages, with a specific interest in engaging older adults. These investments are in addition to nearly $1 million in previously announced work.

The supported grants in systems improvement and best practices reflect a trend of increased regional and local efforts to create age- and dementia-friendly communities. The initiatives promote cross-sector collaboration, expand engagement of older people, advance improvements to support the health and wellbeing of older people, and foster intergenerational connections.

“Each community will follow its own path to becoming age- and dementia-friendly. Support from Tufts Health Plan Foundation helps ensure resources reach under-represented communities at greatest risk for disparities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Everyone has a voice; it’s important that we listen.”

The two Rhode Island recipients of grants were:

Local Initiative Support Corporation (Providence, R.I.) The Intergenerational Farmers’ Market Project—to address social isolation for older adults through relationship-building activities that capitalize on the integration of arts, culture and community resources across Rhode Island. Two-year grant for $120,000.  (For more information on this innovative program, read the ProJo feature on it!)

Rhode Island Parent Information Network (Cranston, R.I.) Own Your Health: A System to Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion in R.I. for Older People—to improve Rhode Island’s system for providing evidence-based programs for older adults and their caregivers. One-year grant for $63,085.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million in Healthy Aging Policy and Practice Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million to Advance Policies and Practices Supporting Healthy Aging

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced new community investments of more than $1.1 million, reflecting a commitment to advance inclusive policies that create thriving and vital communities that work for people of all ages.

“Communities have greater interest in age-friendly initiatives. There’s a growing understanding of the critical role older people play. They are an asset to community, and their voices and insights are invaluable to the public discourse on what communities need,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan and president of its Foundation.

The Foundation’s new grants support initiatives to engage and train more advocates to participate in policy discussions; extend dementia-friendly programs to new communities; and address gaps limiting access to services and healthy, nutritious food. All are aligned with the Foundation’s focus on support for communities that work for everyone.

Three of the eight grants awarded went to Rhode Island organizations.  The Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island was awarded a $50,000 policy and advocacy grant for a program to engage low-income seniors and develop them as community leaders with the capacity to effectively advocate for policy change.  Rhode Island College Foundation received a two year James A. Roosevelt, Jr. Leadership Fund (community engagement) grant for $252,400 to build a powerful community coalition to advocate, design innovative solutions and develop programs/services for an Age-Friendly Rhode Island.  The Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island also received a one year systems and best practices grant for $15,000 to support the update of Rhode Island’s five-year plan on Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders.

The new grants engage nearly 80 community organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Recognized, Releases Annual Report Featuring Community Voices

Tufts Health Plan Recognized by Grantmakers in Aging, Releases Annual Report

Grantmakers in Aging Diversity Award

At its 35th anniversary annual conference, held in Boston, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) presented the GIA Diversity Award for 2017 to the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.  The award was established to recognize organizations that embrace diversity as a fundamental element in all levels of their work in aging.

Therese Ellery, Senior Program Officer at the Rose Community Foundation in Denver, Colorado and a member of the GIA Diversity Award Committee, noted Tufts’ exemplary work, saying “Diversity and inclusion are embedded in all of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s grantmaking….A powerful example is the Age-Friendly Boston Initiative….The city recently released a 75- point Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, which was informed by 30 listening sessions, conducted in 4 languages in 23 neighborhoods across the city. 70 organizations participated. In addition 3,700 surveys were completed in 6 languages. In sum, the City heard from 4,000+ older adults from every… single… community in Boston. In this and indeed all of its grantmaking, the Foundation seeks to minimize equity gaps in communities with limited resources and promote healthy aging for all residents. This means supporting work that engages LGBTQ older adults, communities of color, rural populations, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. ”  More information

Annual Report

This year Tufts Health Plan Foundation took a new approach to the annual report, sharing community voices to represent their work for 2016.  The audio annual report, Making Our Communities Great Places to Grow Up and Grow Old, highlights collaborations and initiatives supported by the Foundation to advance the age-friendly movement across the region.

“Listening is critical in our role as community partner and investor,” said Thomas O’Neill III, chair of the Foundation board of directors. “It informs how we engage, promote health and connect to the communities we serve.”

As part of its practice, the Foundation collaborates with and engages older adults, civic leaders and nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island to support communities that work for people of all ages.

“We are living longer, and opportunities to create vibrant cities and towns that are great places to grow up and grow old must be advanced,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, Foundation president and vice president, corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Our annual report represents the voices of those we support.”

Included in the report are stories from Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, the Latino Health Insurance Program, the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Age-Friendly Boston.  The Foundation supports work that emphasizes collaboration, catalyzes change and honors community work. Last year the Foundation invested $2.9 million through 43 grants that engage 650 community groups across three states.  Listen