Brigham receives $16 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to improve healthcare delivery for NCDs

Brigham and Women’s Hospital announces a $16 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support the implementation and evaluation of an Integrated Service Delivery (PEN-Plus) model for serious chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy and sickle cell disease in eight low- and lower-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

We are grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for investing in this crucial effort to improve healthcare delivery and global health policy for those who have been historically underserved and live in poverty with serious chronic conditions. »


Robert SD Higgins, MD, MSHA, President of the Brigham and Executive Vice President of Mass General Brigham

PEN-Plus builds on the World Health Organization’s package of essential non-communicable disease (PEN) interventions to enable nurses and other mid-level providers to provide services such as echocardiography, administration of insulin, hydroxyurea, anticoagulation and management of heart failure in mid-level facilities such as district hospitals in poor rural areas. The initiative aims to enable an additional million of the world’s poorest children and young adults to receive high-quality care for serious chronic non-communicable diseases by 2030.

Gene Bukhman, MD, PhD, associate physician in Brigham’s Divisions of Global Health Equity and Cardiovascular Medicine, and Ana Olga Mocumbi, MD, PhD, of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique, will lead these efforts. Bukhman and Mocumbi co-chaired the Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission and are now co-chairs of the NCDI Poverty Network Steering Committee. They also lead the network’s secretariat, a joint effort of Brigham, Harvard Medical School, Partners In Health and UEM, with centers in Boston and Maputo, Mozambique. With this funding, Bukhman and his colleagues will also launch the Brigham-based Center for Integration Science in Global Health Equity, which will provide institutional headquarters for the NCDI Poverty Network Secretariat.

“This grant from Helmsley is truly unprecedented and transformative,” Bukhman said. “Currently, less than $100 million – or just 0.3% of global health spending – is allocated to non-communicable diseases in the countries where the world’s one billion poorest people live. It is high time we formed a global movement to better serve people who are doubly affected. by NCDs and extreme poverty.”

This grant will also support some efforts of the NCDI Poverty Network, a group of 21 low-income countries that was formed in December 2020 to implement the recommendations of the Lancet Commission on Reframing NCDs and Injuries (NCDI) of the Poorest Billion (Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission). As of 2022, 14 of the 21 NCDI Poverty Network countries will launch or expand PEN-Plus strategies, with the remaining seven countries working towards implementation. Helmsley supported an earlier phase of NCDI Poverty Network work and a first wave of PEN-Plus expansion with an $8 million grant.

“At Helmsley, we’ve seen firsthand how PEN-Plus facilities can decentralize critical care, build local capacity and save lives,” said James Reid, program manager for Helmsley’s type 1 diabetes program. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate health inequities and underscore the urgent need to manage underlying NCDs, I believe PEN-Plus is a fast and effective way to integrate services and create safer and healthier communities.”

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