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The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation is committed to supporting the advancement of biomedical research and to expanding access to high-quality health care for low-income individuals and communities of Greater Boston.

Grants in this area are by invitation only.

Smith Family Awards Program for Excellence in Biomedical Research

This grant program in biomedical research seeks to support promising researchers early in their careers as they work to find breakthroughs in such areas as AIDS/HIV, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or neuroscience. Administered by The Medical Foundation, a division of Health Resources in Action, the program provides five to seven $300,000, three-year grants ($100,000 per year) annually to allow early-career researchers to focus on their scientific research before they may be eligible for major federal grant support. Since 1992, 157 scientists have been funded under this program and $31.1 million has been awarded in grants. Applicants must be nominated by their institutions. For more information on this program and how to apply, please visit the Medical Foundation’s website.

Smith Family Awards Program for Excellence in Biomedical Research Grantees »

FOOD ALLERGY SCIENCE INITIATIVE (2016-2020)

Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, its partner institutions, and Yale School of Medicine have launched an initiative to tackle the science of food allergies, a growing public health threat that affects the lives of hundreds of millions worldwide. The Food Allergy Science Initiative (FASI), centered at the Broad, taps the combined resources of participating academic and research institutions to help answer key scientific questions surrounding food allergies, the causes of which remain little-understood. The Foundation has made a $3 million commitment to support this work.

FASI aims to accelerate the pace of discovery in this field and enable the development of new diagnostics and treatments through a coordinated effort that brings together specialists from a variety of disciplines including immunology, gastroenterology, computational biology, molecular biology, and bioengineering to answer fundamental questions pertaining to food allergy. These include:

  • How do cells in the immune system and gastrointestinal track sense allergens?
  • What triggers the allergic response?
  • Why do some people show evidence of an allergic immune response and yet are not clinically reactive?
  • What are the environmental factors that explain the rise in food allergy prevalence in recent decades?
  • What genetic factors might be at play?

TEAM UP FOR CHILDREN INITIATIVE (2015-2019)

The Foundation’s TEAM UP (Transforming and Expanding Access to Mental Health in Urban Pediatrics) for Children initiative seeks to build the capacity of local community health centers (CHCs) to identify and address children’s behavioral health needs through a 4-year initiative to design and test a state-of-the-art model of fully integrated pediatric health care. By strengthening the ability of CHCs to recognize emerging child behavioral health concerns and intervene early with cutting-edge treatment, to be provided, in most cases, within the walls of the health center, the Foundation aims to improve life outcomes for tens of thousands of low-income children in Greater Boston and Gateway Cities.

Specifically, up to $10 million in Foundation grant funds will be used to:

  • Support three CHCs (Codman Square Health Center,The Health Center at Dimock, and Lowell Community Health Center) to become models of how to provide fully-integrated evidence-based mental health care to children within a primary care setting;
  • Partner with Boston Medical Center to train all pediatric-serving health center PCPs and clinical staff in the partner CHCs to recognize risk factors and systematically screen for emerging behavioral health concerns, engage families in the mental health assessment and treatment process, guide patients and families in the implementation of self-management techniques, and provide safe and effective treatment, as appropriate;
  • Integrate needed mental health therapists and community health workers into existing care teams in the partner CHCs to extend each CHC’s capacity to provide prevention and psychotherapeutic treatment to children with, or at risk of developing, behavioral health concerns, and to provide resource support for their families;
  • Provide pediatric-serving heath center PCPs, medical residents, and other medical staff with rapid, specialized consultation with child and adolescent psychiatrists for complicated cases;
  • Provide guidance and coaching to achieve a fully integrated mental health care model within the partner CHCs; and
  • Partner with Boston University School of Medicine to collect real-time cost and quality outcomes in support of continuous quality improvement, project monitoring, and broad dissemination of findings.
  • Success will be measured in the increased capacity of the partner CHCs to recognize and treat those at risk for or experiencing childhood behavioral health concerns, reduced burden of mental illness on children and their families, improved health and school outcomes, reduced related system costs, greater parental satisfaction with access to and quality of mental health care, increased pediatric clinical staff mental health-related knowledge, confidence, and practice change, and achievement of a fully integrated pediatric behavioral health care model. The findings from the TEAM UP for Children initiative are anticipated to provide a detailed roadmap on pediatric integrated care for providers, payers, policymakers, professional organizations, and other key stakeholders.

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