University of Utah Health receives new funding and professorships

This week, the University of Utah Health announced a series of new professorships, and received funding for additional health care research.

The U will gain six new professorships funded by the Huntsman Family, an organization founded after the late Jon Huntsman Sr. Huntsman was considered one of the most generous philanthropists and business men in Utah. The organization announced the funding of six positions back in 2017 with the goal of supporting chairperson positions at the school. The newest professorships are in addition to those created 2 years ago. 

The new positions will focus on health and clinical research, and all positions have been named. The recipients of the professorship are: Brenda Bass, Howard Coleman, Mollie Cummins, Ryan Looper, Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, Jason Shepherd. 

The U also received another health care related award this week, in the form of research funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) . A press release from the University explains: 

“Viola Rieke, PhD, and Lubdha Shah, M.D., at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Radiology have been awarded funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to develop a non-invasive, drug-free, and low-risk treatment option for lower back pain.” 

The research aims to reduce the potential for patients with back pain to be prescribed, and later abuse opioid pain-killers. Researchers at the U say, in the press release, that opioids are often ineffective at fixing the issue, because back pain is a result of a number of factors. 

NIH has awarded $945 million in total fiscal year 2019 funding for grants, contracts and cooperative agreements across 41 states, of which, $2.5 million has been awarded to the University of Utah School of Medicine.