Despite the overall improvement in the health of Americans during the past two decades, significant disparities in health outcomes persist based on race and ethnicity, sex, level of education and income, and other social characteristics. There is a growing awareness in many segments of United States society that persistent health disparities are not acceptable, and that through, coordinated and targeted actions most health disparities are correctable. Created in 2005 with partial funding as an EXPORT Center, for the past six years the Texas Center for Health Disparities (TCHD) has been a leader in health disparities research, education, and outreach In its local community, throughout the State of Texas, and in many parts of the nation. Building on its significant experience and expansive relationships, the TCHD and its partner institutions propose the development of an NIMHD Center of Excellence (COE) with a focus on Women's Health Disparities. Consistent with the community-based participatory research (CBPR) focus of the TCHD, the focus on women's health was identified through substantial community dialogue with local and national partners. The proposed COE will focus on reducing health disparities by employing translational and CBPR approaches for identifying novel biomarkers for HIV-1 progression, developing detection and therapeutic strategies for triple negative breast cancer, and addressing weight loss and obesity. Our COE will augment and strengthen the existing infrastructure and capacity of the TCHD for conducting basic, clinical, translational, participatory, and socio-behavioral research. Our focus on Women's Health Disparities will address a significant need among racial and ethnic minority women in the U.S., the State of Texas, and our local community. We will also expand and develop new education and community outreach activities with our partner underrepresented minority (URM) institutions and community. The objectives of our COE are to: 1) Foster existing relationships and develop new relationships with URM institutions;2) Conduct impactful research on Women's Health Disparities addressing HIV prevention, breast cancer, and obesity reduction;3) Provide unique training and mentoring opportunities for URM students and faculty from URM institutions in health disparity research;4. Educate health professions trainees, health care practitioners and policy makers on the existence and need to address persistent health disparities;and, 5) Serve as a reliable resource for minority communities by disseminating health information, promoting participation in health education and research, and implementing disease prevention activities.
The existence of health disparities in different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups in the United States is a significant public health concern. Through combined efforts of education, state of the art research and outreach to communities, the Texas Center for Health Disparities will help in combating this problem
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