The Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health (ACCJH) will increase the number of scholarships, structured mentorships, and networking opportunities available to students, junior investigators and stakeholders with funding from The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation. ACCJH is supported by UMass Medical School.
The foundation awarded a three-year, $75,000 grant to Warren J. Ferguson, MD, professor and vice chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, director of academic programs for the Health and Criminal Justice Program, and founder and co-chair of the Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health hosted by ACCJH.
Grant recipients will have the opportunity to attend as well as present their work at the correctional conference. The grant makes possible the introduction of scholarships to health professional students committed to helping justice-involved individuals in their communities through research and service.
The grant also will provide scholarships to community-based stakeholders, many of whom have histories of justice involvement. These individuals have gone on to careers or volunteer work to improve the health outcomes for individuals who are incarcerated or who are returning to their communities. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 28.
“Engaging individuals who have their fingers on the pulse of this community will help inform the design and conduct of research focused on justice involved persons. We hope that this will facilitate the growth of community-based participatory research in the field,” Dr. Ferguson said.
Prioritizing support for scholarships will help develop much-needed talent to care for justice-involved patients, conduct solution-oriented research, and advocate for criminal justice reforms in the future. With one in 100 adults in the U.S. incarcerated, evidence-based strategies are desperately needed to effectively treat inmates and improve care transitions at the time of release.
The annual conference provides a forum for researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators, policy makers, and grant funding leaders to network, share evidence, and learn about the latest research in correctional health care. More than 100 academic and correctional institutions across the globe participate. Ferguson will keynote the next conference, to be held March 16 and 17, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ferguson has devoted his career to criminal justice health. He currently leads a correctional health practice collaborative to help correctional facilities implement evidence-based care for Hepatitis C and substance use disorders.
The Langeloth Foundation, which supports innovation in physical and emotional healing in underserved populations, named Ferguson one of 13 grant recipients during the fall funding cycle.
The Health and Criminal Justice Program within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division focuses on research and scholarship; education; and service and consulting. The program manages contracts to provide health services for federal correctional institutions. Clients include the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Medical Centers in Devens, Massachusetts, and Butner, North Carolina, and its Federal Correctional Institutions in Ray Brook, New York, and Berlin, New Hampshire.