Researchers have been measuring and describing health disparities in the United States for well over a century. Despite this, persistent health disparities continue and translate into lost lives every day in the City of Chicago as well as in cities across the country. In Chicago alone, if the mortality rate for blacks was the same as for whites, then 4,000 fewer black people would die each year. The Rush Center for Urban Health Equity is based upon the principle that continued documentation of avoidable deaths and disabilities from these disparities in observational studies is insufficient Instead;the Center is dedicated to preventing them through the conduct of rigorous behavioral clinical trials, in partnership with communities. The Center has convened an interdisciplinary group of medical and social science investigators and community residents who have a shared vision, values, and passion.
We aim to find ways to promote changes, all the way from policy to biology, to eliminate the health disparities affecting the residents of America's cities, in particular those who are low-income persons of color. Recognizing that populations at excess risk of cardiopulmonary disease are often characterized by high degrees of traumatic experience and life stress, the Center's mission is to integrate the management of stress and trauma into multi-level interventions that will reduce health disparities in cardio metabolic risk and cardiopulmonary disease. The long-term objectives for the Center are to 1) Develop and integrate rigorous clinical trial methodology into disparities-focused behavioral clinical trials;2) Test innovative multi-level interventions across the lifespan from children to the elderly;3) Empower inner-city communities to become active participants in the design and conduct of interventions to improve their health;and 4) Provide training opportunities for promising individuals from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in transdisciplinary research on health disparities. The Center's location, situated in the middle of communities of extreme poverty, its interdisciplinary research team, its expertise in behavioral clinical trials and community based participatory research, its broad educational programs, and the Rush culture of clinical and research collaboration combine to create a powerful site for the development and testing of interventions to reverse disparities. Funding is now sought to bring these resources together to establish a unique center of excellence in health disparities interventions.
Cardiovascular health disparities have persisted or worsened in the past two decades, despite efforts to narrow the gap. The Rush Center will conduct robust, multi-level controlled trials, based within undersen/ed communities, which are aimed at reducing disparities at all levels, from policy to biology. The Center will also place a priority on training the next generation researchers interested in disparities interventions who will aspire to a level of influence that goes well beyond the cun-ent state-of-the-art.
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