The UR Medical Center received more than $1 million from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation in the form of Opportunity Grants for five of its programs relating to health care and the community. These are the first awards to be given out by the Foundation since its inception in 2006.

“The University of Rochester has a proud history of creating innovative community health programs and we are honored that the Greater Rochester Health Foundation has chosen to support these events,” CEO of URMC Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. said. “This is the beginning of what I hope will be a long and productive partnership between the University, the Foundation and the community to address the many urgent health problems we face in the region.”

Associate Professor of Orthopaedics and Director of Athletic Medicine Michael Maloney, M.D. was one of the recipients of the grants. He works to educate female high school athletes in high demand sports and hopefully prevent the incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears.

“We know that the incidence of ACL tears in females is much higher than that of males that participate in the same sport,” Maloney said. “There have been some studies showing that by educating them on proper techniques of running and cutting and other conditioning exercises can reduce the incidence of injury. The GRHF grant is a great opportunity to educate this at-risk patient population and decrease the incidence of these injuries.”

An ACL tear takes away an important social network from the high school athlete as well as keeps her away from being able to exercise because the recovery from the surgery can take anywhere from six to 12 months or longer. Maloney plans on having certified athletic trainers visit the schools in Monroe County to educate both the athletes and the coaches on the techniques of prevention, such as exercises and stretching.

Other recipients of the grants included Pediatricians Stephen Cook, M.D. and Peter G. Szilagyi, M.D., School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean David Guzick, M.D., Ph.D. and Rheumatologist Darren Tabechian, M.D.

Cook worked with the Department of Pediatrics, the Rochester Community Pediatricians and the Children’s Institute to develop a Childhood Obesity Report Card, with the ultimate goal being to track the distribution and abundance of obesity among children and adolescents.

Szilagyi was recognized for his programs involving urban primary care practices and school-based health centers working to overcome barriers to the health system. The expected result is a lowering in the costs of immunization as well as preventative health visits for adolescents who are primarily poor or are of a minority or urban background.

Guzick was in charge of convening a community-wide symposium, held in conjunction with the health insurance provider Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, to discuss the rising costs of health care and quality issues.

Tabechian was commemorated for his unique approach to training primary care physicians in relation to musculoskeletal examination and common treatment procedures for rheumatoid arthritis.

The GRHF was created from the merger of health insurance providers Preferred Care and MVP Health Care. With assets amounting to over $200 million, it is one of the area’s largest health foundations.

“The GRHF was established this year,” Professor of Medicine and Community and Preventative Medicine and Director of the Center for Community Health Dr. Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., M.S. said. “It is a foundation to support health-related activities and community health improvement.”

A community-based board of directors oversees the foundation and ensures the focus remains on improving the health status of every resident in the greater Rochester community. The foundation especially works to ensure the betterment of health status for people who have unique health care needs due to race, ethnicity or income.

Halusic is a member of the class of 2010.

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