Winners of COVID-19 Research Accelerator Grants Announced

Publish Date
June 17, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, June 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the COVID-19 Research Consortium, the Health Care Cost Institute, and Datavant announced 15 winners of the first Research Accelerator grants, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant program’s mission is to ensure that researchers have the resources they need to leverage the COVID-19 Research Database to study the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19. The database is the result of a cross-sector partnership of leading health organizations that resulted in the availability of a secure repository of HIPAA-compliant, de-identified and limited patient-level data sets. With more than 250 million unique patients and 85 billion records, this Database is the largest secure repository of real world data made freely available to public health and policy researchers studying the pandemic.

This round of grants prioritized research proposals that investigate the roles of gender in the pandemic. The goal is to accelerate evidence for policies that mitigate the effects of the current pandemic and strengthen future disaster preparedness. “This grant program is designed to enable faster, more impactful insights about Covid-19 and its many effects on the health care system. We’re very eager to see what these deserving research teams discover,” said Niall Brennan, President and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute.

The grant program opened to applicants in May and received hundreds of applications from 20 different countries. Applications were reviewed by Dr. Mark Cullen, former professor of medicine, epidemiology and data science at Stanford University and Chair of the COVID-19 Research Database Scientific Review Committee. At the deadline, Cullen commented, “We were thrilled that in less than three weeks’ time, we received almost 130 applications, coming from every corner of the US and the globe, reflecting an exceptionally broad range of ideas and scientific approaches. Picking the winners was an enormous challenge.”

Out of this highly competitive pool of applicants, the following awardees were chosen (in no particular order):

  • Closing the gap: Constructing meaningful indicators for assessing and correcting disparate healthcare outcomes arising from the COVID-19 pandemic (George Mason University)
  • Sex-gender Differences in COVID-19 Diagnosis, Hospitalization and Mortality (American University of Beirut)
  • Leaving no mother behind: measuring race/ethnicity and age differences in antenatal care adequacy over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic (Surgo Ventures)
  • Drug Utilization during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences by Drug Class and Gender (Johns Hopkins University)
  • The Effects of the COVID-19 Medicaid Postpartum Expansion on Healthcare Use, Healthcare Outcomes, and Employment During and After the Pandemic (Harvard University)
  • Telehealth Disparity: Investigating the Predictors for Low Utilization among Minority Populations (University of North Florida)
  • Gender, Socioeconomic, and Racial Disparities in Medical Treatments for COVID-19 Patients (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Harness network science to reduce treatment resource disparities and social disadvantage (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • Race/ethnicity and sex-gender disparities in use of early detection and preventive healthcare services, contraception, and telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic by US state (University of Washington)
  • Racial Disparities’ Impact on Elderly Individuals’ Mental Health Conditions during the COVID19 Pandemic (University of Baltimore)
  • Gender disparities in medication treatment for substance use disorder before and during COVID-19 (Urban Institute)
  • EVIDENCE: Elucidating COVID Disparities in Engagement of Chronic Disease Care (SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University)
  • Role of Sex Hormones and Race in COVID-19 Hospitalization and Mortality (Tulane University School of Medicine)
  • Domestic Violence Injuries During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence From Medical Records (University of Michigan)

Winners will begin their research this summer and all plan to publish in peer reviewed journals. They will be featured in the COVID-19 Research Database Grand Rounds webinar series later this year.

“We have been extremely impressed with the quality of the grant proposals, and are excited to be working with the foundation and our partners in the COVID Research Database to support this research,” said Travis May, CEO of Datavant. “The COVID Research Database is a powerful demonstration of the analysis and work that is possible on top of de-identified, connected real world data.”

About COVID-19 Research Database
The COVID-19 research database enables public health and policy researchers to use real-world data to better understand and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The database is a pro-bono, cross-industry collaborative, composed of institutions donating technology services, healthcare expertise, and de-identified data. Collaborators include AnalyticsIQ, Change Healthcare, Datavant, Elsevier, Glooko, Health Care Cost Institute, Healthjump, HealthWise Data, Medidata (a Dassault Systèmes company), Mirador Analytics, Munich Re Life US, Office Ally, Ovation, PointClickCare, QIAGEN, SAS, Snowflake, STATA, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Symphony Health (a PRA Health Sciences company), Veradigm, and Eurofins Viracor.
To learn more about the COVID-19 Research Database please visit:

About the Health Care Cost Institute
The Health Care Cost Institute is an independent, non-profit organization with leading health care claims datasets that enable research, policy and journalism. HCCI’s mission is to get to the heart of the key issues impacting the U.S. health care system — by using the best data to get the best answers. To learn more about HCCI, visit

About Datavant
Datavant’s mission is to connect the world’s health data to improve patient outcomes. Datavant works to reduce the friction of data sharing across the healthcare industry by building technology that protects the privacy of patients while supporting the linkage of de-identified patient records across datasets. Datavant is headquartered in San Francisco. Learn more about Datavant at

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