The long-range goal of this project is to establish a comprehensive Center for Cardiovascular Health Disparities Research (CCHDR) at Meharry Medical College (MMC). MMC, located in Nashville, TN., is the largest private, historically black academic health sciences center dedicated exclusively to educating health care professionals and biomedical scientists. Development of the CCHDR is critical to the population we serve given the severe health disparity in cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes in Tennessee and especially the North Nashville and Bordeaux/Whites Creek communities, primary health care catchment areas for MMC. These areas are approximately 80-90% African American. According to Tennessee Department of Health statistics, in 2005 (based on 2000 - 2002 data) the rate of death from heart disease and stroke in African Americans is one and a half times that of White Tennesseans. Likewise the death rate in African Americans from diabetes (a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and end-stage renal disease) is twice that of White Tennesseans. These statistics are even more alarming given that overall Tennessee ranks the 3rd highest in the nation for cardiovascular-related deaths (Source: Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Policy, Planning and Assessment, Division of Health Statistics). The specifics aims of this Phase I application are to: 1. Establish an External Advisory Board of accomplished cardiovascular scientists with experience in developing and administering center programs. The External Advisory Board will assist in recruiting the senior cardiovascular scientist (see below); 2. Recruit a senior cardiovascular scientist with a history of sustained independent funding and leadership experience in research programs and/or centers;and 3. Develop a five-year strategic plan that will guide the development of the Phase II application.
Eliminating cardiovascular disparities will directly address a set of Healthy People 2010 objectives and NHLBI strategic objectives as outlined in the NHLBI Strategy for Addressing Health Disparities FY 2002 - 2006. It will also alleviate a major socioeconomic burden to a portion of the U.S. population that can least afford it.