Leveraging research to address health inequities

UF COMJ faculty members are using a PCORI award to drive patient participation in health disparities research.

Faculty members at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville are using a highly coveted research award to help address health inequities in Duval County.

The college recently received a $248,000 award through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program, an initiative of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The funding is going toward developing measures to foster greater patient involvement in health disparities research and participation in the UF Health Urban Health Alliance.

“We are honored to have received this PCORI award, which will aid greatly as we take a multifaceted approach to addressing health disparities in our local community. We seek to have an expansive group of providers, patients and other stakeholders on board and in regular communication with each other about ways to creatively and effectively foster greater health equity,” said Lori Bilello, PhD, MBA, MHS, a research assistant professor and associate director of the UF Health Urban Health Alliance.

The PCORI award spans two years. Bilello is leading the project alongside Ross Jones, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of community health and family medicine and medical director of community health.

Project activities include:

  • Conducting listening sessions with patients, community members, providers and other stakeholders to identify key barriers to health equity.
  • Soliciting solutions to improve health equity.
  • Developing a patient-centered research collaborative. 
  • Recruiting and training community members to serve as citizen scientists.  
  • Creating a health disparities data center to collect and house data and reports generated by UF Health personnel and other community members.

To participate in a listening session or for more information about the project, contact Bilello at 244-9202 or

About the UF Health Urban Health Alliance

The UF Health Urban Health Alliance is a comprehensive resource and community health innovation hub that brings together organizations and individuals to help improve the health of Jacksonville residents using community-initiated, self-sustainable strategies and solutions. Its mission is to improve the health of residents through a multifaceted, evidence-based approach to the health and well-being of people, particularly the most vulnerable.


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and health care decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.


Featured Faculty

Lori A. Bilello, PhD, MBA, MHS

Lori A. Bilello, PhD, MBA, MHS

Research Associate Professor
Associate Director, Urban Health Alliance

Ross E. Jones, MD

Ross E. Jones, MD

Associate Professor
Medical Director, UF Health and Family Medicine - Elizabeth G. Means Center; Medical Director, Total Care Group; Medical Director, Community Health