Commonwealth Fund Awards $213,763 to Maya Angelou Research Center On Minority Health to Create Resource Book on Minority Health Issues

February 7, 2005

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Maya Angelou Research Center on Minority Health at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has received a $213,763 grant from the Commonwealth Fund to create a chartbook on health status and health care quality for minorities in the United States.

In addition to raising public awareness of minority health care issues, the book will be used as a valuable tool for researchers and policymakers involved in efforts to eliminate disparities in health and health care quality. The publication—due to be released in 2006—will also highlight successful and promising programs and practices for improving minority health care in America.

“This project is perfectly suited for our mission,” said Kristy F. Woods, M.D., director of the Angelou Research Center. “The significance of this project in presenting current and compelling data on racial and ethnic disparities in health care is immense. Broad dissemination of the final product will help to ensure that minority health concerns remain a national priority.”

A nationally recognized authority on sickle cell disease, Woods is also professor of medicine at Wake Forest Baptist.

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation based in New York, supports independent research on health and social issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy. The Fund is dedicated to helping people become more informed about their health care, and improving care for vulnerable populations such as children, elderly people, low-income families, minority Americans and the uninsured.

The comprehensive user-friendly chartbook will summarize current national data on major indexes of health status and quality of care for U.S. minority populations. It will present data as 50 to 60 graphs and tables with accompanying narratives in English and Spanish. Authors of the book will attempt to answer the following questions:
• How do minority individuals access and use the health care system?
• What are the health system barriers that minority individuals face?
• How does insurance coverage influence quality of care?
• What are the differences between the health care delivered to whites and that delivered to minorities?
• Is racial profiling a factor in providers’ diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making?
• Who are the providers who care for minority patients? What are their characteristics?
• Does racial concordance between provider and patient affect compliance with treatment, patient satisfaction, or effectiveness of treatment?
• How does language influence medical outcomes? Do translation services help?
• How have successful practices or programs minimized health care disparities?

The Maya Angelou Research Center on Minority Health was established to address racial and ethnic disparities in health status, health care quality and quality of life. It represents a new model for addressing these issues with collaborative initiatives not only at Wake Forest Baptist, but with local academic institutions (e.g., Winston-Salem State University) and community entities.

The Angelou Research Center’s focus included: multidisciplinary research on minority health issues, translating research into effective models of care, community outreach and promotion of underrepresented min minorities in the biomedical sciences.


Media Contacts: Jim Steele,, Shannon Koontz,, or Karen Richardson,, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,298 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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