With continued support from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, we propose to build upon the strengths of our collaborative efforts to meaningfully contribute to the understanding and reduction of health disparities in South Carolina and in the southeastern region of the United States, by creating a Coordinating Center of Excellence in the Social Promotion of Health Equity Research, Education and Community Engagement (CCE-SPHERE) that will provide the basis for conducting basic science and community-based participatory research using a social science framework. This application expands the work started under our Center of Excellence in Cancer and HIV Research (Project EXPORT) that provided an opportunity to create a focused research partnership utilizing the strengths of an HBCU partner (Claflin University) and the University of South Carolina's Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities (USC-IPEHD. The current application takes the resident expertise in biological, social and behavioral science at USC-IPEHD and CU and an expansive community network to conduct basic, community-based participatory and translational research focused on HIV and HPV-mediated diseases, which could serve to replace health disparity with health equity in a targeted community. The activities proposed in this project will: (1) promote and increase health disparities and minority health research at the University of South Carolina and our partners;(2) increase the number of minority researchers conducting community-based participatory research in vulnerable and underserved communities;(3) recruit, train and mentor students, faculty and future research leaders who are from underrepresented populations wishing to conduct work in minority health or health disparities;(4) enhance our community partnerships in health disparities and minority health to improve the health status of minority populations in South Carolina and the southeastern region of the US;and (5) integrate the University's minority health and health disparities programs, institutions, and resources into a seamless infrastructure that fosters communication and collaboration across communities, academic disciplines, and institutional units.
Our Coordinating Center of Excellence in the Social Promotion of Health Equity Research, Education and Community Engagement (CCE-SPHERE) seeks to engage in a community driven process to facilitate the identification of sustainable community solutions to health disparities while building upon existing community assets and successes. The complex circumstances of health disparities are rooted in the intersection of myriad factors, including social circumstances, behavioral choices, system level barriers, geographic location, and limits on access to quality health care as reflected in the CSHD model for the Center overall. The proposed project will utilize a community-based participatory process to address these disparities.
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