RAND Corporation Wins Award from American Association for Public Opinion Research

For Release

May 25, 2005

A pioneering RAND Corporation study based on the first national probability sample of HIV adult patients receiving medical care in the United States has been awarded the 2005 Policy Impact Award by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

AAPOR recognized the RAND HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study for contributing new knowledge about an important health policy issue and a vulnerable population, and for researchers’ creativity and devotion to upholding rigorous standards of survey research.

AAPOR awards the Policy Impact Award annually to survey research projects that have had a clear impact on improving policy decisions, practice, and discourse, either in the public or private sectors.

Researchers from RAND and other institutions conducted a series of surveys among 3,700 people with HIV nationally from 1994 to 2000, collecting information on their health and social needs. The study also included a series of interviews with patient caregivers and medical providers. It was sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study has resulted in more than 70 published research papers that have provided the first comprehensive analysis of HIV patients undergoing treatment in the United States, highlighting significant trends and disparities in medical care received by these patients.

Key findings from the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study include:

  • Following the introduction of antiretroviral therapy, overall spending for HIV medical care dropped by almost 40 percent.
  • African Americans were 65 percent less likely than whites to receive new antiretroviral drug therapies even when the severity of their disease was similar.
  • Only 32 percent of patients were covered by private insurance, and 20 percent were uninsured.

The survey results have been cited by national policymakers as a key data source for the establishment of a federally funded health care system benefiting low-income HIV patients.

Martin Shapiro was the study’s principal investigator and is a professor of medicine at UCLA. Sandra Berry is senior director of the RAND Survey Research Group and was the study’s senior project director. The two, who accepted the award at the recent annual meeting of AAPOR, emphasized the importance of producing unbiased national data in order to best inform the health policy process.

About RAND

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