While the existence of racial and ethnic health care disparities has been firmly established, health care systems need tools, strategies and interventions to reduce these differences. In 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change to identify practical steps to reduce racial and ethnic disparities. Over ten years, the program managed a $16 million portfolio that funded evaluations of innovative projects across the country aimed at reducing racial and ethnic health care disparities, initially focusing on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Finding Answers produced numerous systematic reviews and established best practices as a leader in the field.
The Finding Answers program’s core goals were to:
- Find promising solutions to reduce disparities
- Encourage the spread of best practices
- Create an evidence-based, practical framework to help health care providers design their own interventions to reduce disparities.
Finding Answers quickly translated evidence into action and disseminated information, best practices, and tools to health care systems to help them recognize and act upon equity and as an integral and crucial part of health care quality improvement. The tools on this website capture the main lessons so that other health care organizations can successfully reduce disparities via their quality improvement efforts.
In 2014, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded Finding Answers to expand its focus to reducing disparities through payment reform.
National Program Office and National Advisory Committee
The University of Chicago acted as the National Program Office for Finding Answers and managed all technical assistance and program details. The National Program Office was led by Dr. Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH.
The National Advisory Committee included the following individuals. The committee brought together diverse expertise that strengthened the program and ensured a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach.
“We knew based on the research that African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians disproportionately get lower quality care. With Finding Answers, we wanted to focus on solutions – not on research that would just confirm that disparities existed.”
- Debra Joy Perez, PhD, MA, MPA, former assistant vice president for Research & Evaluation at RWJF
- John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP, Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation at University of Michigan
- Anne C. Beal, MD, MPH, Sanofi
- Guillermo Bernal, University of Puerto Rico
- Kathy L. Coltin, MPH, Independent Consultant in Performance and Measurement, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
- Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Kaytura Felix, MD, ISL Coaching, US Dept of Health & Human Services/HRSA
- Alicia Fernandez, MD, University of California, San Francisco
- Ralph Forquera, Seattle Indian Health Board & Urban Indian Health Institute
- Patty Gabow, RWJF former CEO of Denver Health Hospital Authority
- Russell Glasgow, PhD, Kaiser Permanente, Colorado
- Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, Committee Chair, Community Health Development, Inc
- Romana Hasnain-Wynia, MS, PhD, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute
"What I so appreciated about RWJF was that the advisory committee was so diverse. We had researchers. We had clinicians. We had people who had been involved in community health. When we looked at a grant application, there was a balance.”
- Rachel Gonzales Hanson, advisory committee chair
- Said A. Ibrahim, MD, MPH, Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion, US Dept of Veteran Affairs
- B. Waine Kong, PhD, JD, Contributing Editor and Consultant for Black Health Matters
- Carol Mangione, MD, MSPH, UCLA
- Lewis G. Sandy, MD, UnitedHealth Group
- Ho Luong Tran, MD, MPH, National Council of Asian & Pacific Islander Physicians
- Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
- D’Nyce Williams, MD, MPH, MPA, Morehouse School of Medicine
View a 3-minute video describing Finding Answers: