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Lynn Wooten
  Lynn Wooten

The Role of Leaders in Closing the Racial Gap in Health Care

10/18/2004 --

NIH grant will fund interdisciplinary research on pregnancy and infant health problems among African Americans.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Professor Lynn Wooten of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan will lead an interdisciplinary team of U-M researchers that will examine the racial disparities in pregnancy and prenatal care.

The National Institutes of Health will fund a $1.8 million grant to 17 U-M schools, departments and centers to collaborate on the three-year research project. Researchers will tackle the issue of racial disparities from three perspectives: leaders, health care providers and patients.

Wooten, clinical assistant professor of corporate strategy and management at the Ross School, will lead a group of researchers that will look at how leadership affects access and improvements in prenatal care and examine the leader's role in managing the racial gap in birth outcomes.

She says she plans to incorporate ideas from the business school's Positive Organizational Scholarship into her research on this project.

"Despite the commitment of multiple stakeholders to close the health care disparity gap for prenatal care and birth outcomes, we have very little understanding of how leaders effectively organize to achieve these goals," says Wooten, whose previous research on the positive organizational culture of nurse midwives sparked her interest in this current research.

"The findings of our work will provide an empirical and theoretical basis for developing leadership training and interventions for health care providers, administrators, community organizations and social service professionals working to reduce health care disparities by improving the access and quality to augmented prenatal care."

In addition to Wooten's "leaders' perspective," other U-M researchers will assess health care disparities by reviewing microsystem barriers and opportunities to deliver augmented prenatal care ("providers' perspective"), and evaluate and develop strategies to reduce barriers for pregnant women to seek out and obtain augmented prenatal care ("patients' perspective").

Ross School alumnus Scott Ransom, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the U-M Medical School, is the principal investigator of the NIH-funded project.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone: 734-936-1015 or 734-647-1847