Persistent and pronounced differences in health by race/ethnicity exist for multiple health outcomes. Despite repeated documentation of these disparities, there is still substantial debate on the driving forces behind them. There is a growing sense that current approaches to understanding these disparities which often attempt to fragment the problem into distinct social and biological components are insufficient, not only from the point of view of scientific understanding but also from the point of view on identifying the most effective strategies to eliminate disparities in the real world. Understanding health disparities will require integration of social and biological factors as well as consideration not only of individual characteristics but also characteristics of the multiple contexts in which individuals live and work. The overarching goal of the Michigan Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities (CIAHD) is to promote and support research that comprehensively integrates social and biological factors within a multilevel framework in understanding the determinants of minority health and health disparities. This overarching goal will be achieved through a set of interrelated Aims: (1) To advance scientific understanding of how the interrelation of social and biologic factors contributes to health in minority populations and health disparities with a specific focus on cardiovascular risk.(2) To continue to nurture a mutually beneficial partnership between the University of Michigan and the Jackson Heart Study in order to further advance research, training, and community engagement/outreach within our multilevel integrated framework. (3) To establish and formalize a comprehensive set of research education/ training and community engagement/outreach activities explicitly linked to and synergistic with the research components and the Jackson Heart Study collaboration. (4) To maintain a forum that wilt integrates ongoing minority health and health disparities research broadly at the University of Michigan and at our partner institutions in Jackson. This proposed continuation expands on the findings and lessons of our very successful prior funding period to encompass a set of integrated research, training and community activities in the context of the U of M -Jackson Heart Study partnership.
Elimination health disparities will require approaches that recognize their multilevel causes. Identifying these causes requires interdisciplinary approaches that integrate social and biological factors and that bridge across research, training, and community engagement. Through its activities CIAHD will enhance our understanding of cardiovascular health disparities and our ability to intervene to eliminate them.
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