New awards for studies of minority health and health disparities

By Rachel Evans

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has granted new awards for its Centers of Excellence and Research Centers in Minority Institutions that will provide resources to early investigators and multidisciplinary research groups. Writing in an October newsletter, director Elisio Pérez-Stable said that these awards will help NIMHD work toward its mission to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities.

Twelve institutions were named Centers of Excellence. They will conduct studies in health disparities in many populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, and rural communities. The awards provide $82 million over the next five years to support the centers in their multidisciplinary research, fostering research by young investigators and encouraging study of minority health and health disparities, and providing support to the communities affected by the research. Fostering this type of larger community, involving researchers and the immediate community, will allow researchers to better understand their populations of interest and better provide interventions to reduce health disparities. Funded project include those to increase understanding of how cultural mechanisms affect youth health outcomes, clinician communication programs to improve patient-doctor relationships, and research of Alzheimer’s in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Seven institutions designated as Research Centers in Minority Institutions won $122 million. These awards will help promote diversity in the NIMHD community, fostering research by young investigators while supporting more seasoned investigators in their work to understand diseases that disproportionately affect minorities. RCMIs all over the country conduct research on HIV, substance abuse in minority populations, environmental and community health dynamics in the Southwest, and health disparities in Hawaiian populations, to name a few. The NIMHD’s support of these institutions will further essential research in populations that may be disenfranchised, while also helping build infrastructure in minority communities to leave support long after the research project is over.

Rachel Evans (revans46@jhmi.edu) is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Her research focuses on understanding malaria transmission and improving malaria treatments.

 

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