The mission of the DILLARD-LSUHSC Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHHDRC) is to improve the health of underserved populations in New Orleans and surrounding regions, through the combined strengths of two institutions that have traditionally served minority populations. The Center will address a widespread and persistent problem: Low participation in clinical trials furthers health disparities. Dillard University, a historically black college, has an international reputation for preparing minorities for careers in health sciences. Through its nine public hospitals, clinics, and Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program, the LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) provides healthcare for more minorities than any other facility in the state. The MHHDRC will address two problems: 1) a disproportionate number of minorities pursuing health disparities research, and 2) a shortage of minority clinical research associates (CRAs) to promote and conduct clinical trials within health disparity communities. The Center's goals are to conduct health disparities research, develop minority faculty to become successful investigators, expose undergraduates to health disparity research, and train minority CRAs. The overarching goal is to develop evidenced-based methodologies for increasing minority participation in clinical trials. These will have particular relevance in light of the region's disproportionate share of health disparities, a situation that was aggravated by Hurricane Katrina. The Center will rebuild and create new infrastructure at Dillard, where it will be located. Goals will be realized through integrated research, training, and community engagement. These will be incorporated into clinical and translational research projects that focus on chronic conditions accounting for a disproportionate share of disease among health disparity populations. The research component will pair new investigators with established ones. Training will focus on educating undergraduate students in health disparities research and outreach and on training nurses to conduct clinical trials and promote the inclusion of underrepresented minorities. Community engagement will reduce health disparities by increasing the participation of minority and underserved populations.
The lack of well trained biomedical investigators and research nurses decreases minority participation in clinical and basic research, denying them access to advanced healthcare and perpetuating health disparities. The proposed Center will promote the participation of minority investigators, nurses, undergraduate students, and communities in health-related research that affects their community.
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