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Global Health Leadership Initiative Targets Inequities in Sepsis Outcomes and Care

Yale Public Health Magazine, Yale Public Health: Fall 2022


A culture needs to be fostered where people can come together and do problem-solving around these complex issues, especially related to racism.

Erika Linnander

The Yale Global Health Leadership Initiative (GHLI) has been awarded a highly competitive research grant exceeding $1 million to reduce inequities in sepsis care and outcomes among African American/Black and Latinx communities. 

The R01 grant was awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Studies, a division of the National Institutes of Health. Advancing health equity and social justice is one of the core values of the Yale School of Public Health. A detailed description of the novel research initiative appears in BMC Health Services Research.

Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition in which the body is harmed due to an immune dysfunction while responding to an infection. It is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. African American/Black and Latinx people with sepsis experience higher rates of complications, deviations from standard care, and readmissions than non-Hispanic white populations, the researchers said.

The goal of the funded research is to develop and evaluate a coalition-based leadership intervention that will help eight U.S. hospital systems and their communities address structural racism and drive measurable reductions in inequities in sepsis care and outcomes, said Erika Linnander, MPH, MBA, director of the GHLI and one of the principal investigators for the project.

“Any complex health outcome that requires the coordination of various parts of a health care system is perfect for an intervention on leadership and organizational culture,” Linnander said. “A culture needs to be fostered where people can come together and do problem-solving around these complex issues, especially related to racism.”

Over the next three years, the researchers will develop and test the intervention using quantitative and qualitative data analysis to observe changes in organizational culture. The team will then examine the impact of change in organizational culture on the reduction of racial inequities related to sepsis focusing on three outcomes: early identification and treatment, readmissions, and mortality.

The other principal investigators for the study are Yale School of Health Professor Leslie Curry, MPH, PhD, and Dowin Boatright, MD, MBA, MHS ’17, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

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