The continuation of the Alcohol Research Group's (ARG) National Alcohol Research Center, Epidemiology of Alcohol Problems: Alcohol-related Disparities, brings increased focus to the NIH's priority area of disparities in health, mental health and social problems. The Center, building on its ground-breaking conceptual and methodological contributions for over 35 years, studies the complex interactions between drinking patterns across the life-course, demographic characteristics, sociocultural and drinking contexts, community and policy factors, and problem outcomes, both in the general population and with attention to specific subgroups. Recognizing ARG scientists' increased focus on and expertise in disparities in alcohol use patterns, problems and health outcomes, and the significant gaps in the knowledge base addressed by this research, we have decided to make this the unifying theme of this Center round and going forward. The Center is organized around five cores: (1) the Administrative Core supporting our basic administrative needs; (2) the National Alcohol Survey (NAS) Resources Core that would allow continued implementation of our NAS, which is a repeated, cross-sectional, national epidemiological survey with large oversamples of Blacks and Latinos and individually-linked geo-referenced area measures, conducted with comparable measurement every 5 years and facilitating disparities analyses focused on race/ethnicity and socioeconomic groups; (3) the Statistics and Data Services (SDS) Core bringing together analytic expertise, experienced data management skills and training for ARG scientists and research staff; (4) the Pilots Core which follows on three, prior successful pilot programs and fosters exciting and innovative disparities-related projects from our most promising junior investigators; and (5) the Dissemination Core which will develop and disseminate alcohol risk and drinking guideline information with special focus on racial/ethnic minority populations, building on ARG research findings as well as incorporating new findings from Center projects. Additionally, we propose four research projects: (6) the Health Disparities project addressing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in alcohol-related injuries, diabetes and heart-related outcomes; (7) the Policy project assessing differential effects of alcohol-related policies on alcohol outcomes and treatment utilization across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups; (8) the US-Mexico Border project involving geographic area comparisons of alcohol and drug use, problems, and treatment among Latino groups in this highly disadvantaged region; and (9) the Neighborhood Methods project developing and utilizing measures of neighborhood effects relevant to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities across the rural-urban spectrum. These Cores and Projects illustrate a rich diversity of approaches and compelling public health questions, and stand to inform future research in the disparities arena with conceptual, measurement and analytical innovations.
The proposed Center provides resources, training, data and statistical expertise for the study of alcohol-related health, mental health and social problem disparities in the U.S. arising from differences between racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Research projects will provide insights in to alcohol-related health risks, the effects of existing alcohol and health policies on alcohol-related disparities, and area-level influences on disparities in alcohol and drug use, abuse, related problems and treatment. Knowledge gained will further understanding of alcohol-related disparities and will strengthen the design, implementation and targeting of prevention and policy interventions to address these.
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