: The Tuskegee University (TU) School of Veterinary Medicine (TUSVM) submits this renewal application to receive endowment funds in order to continue to build institutional infrastructure for strengthening research capacity geared to address the health disparity challenges of the state and the nation. TUSVM, the only School of Veterinary Medicine located on an HBCU campus, which currently trains approximately 50% of all African American (AA) Veterinarians in the United States (US), itself located in rural Alabama, has a tradition of addressing the needs of underserved minorities, especially AA within the Black Belt counties (BBC) of Alabama. Under the concept of """"""""One Medicine-One Health,"""""""" we are focused on building research infrastructure and human capacity to actively conduct research in three of the six major health disparities i.e., cancer, obesity/diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
The specific aims are: 1) Continue to build capacity and strengthen research infrastructure at TUSVM to eventually establish a Center for Health Disparities and Health Inequities Research in the BBC of Alabama by 2014;2) Continue to build human capacity;and, 3) Continue to strengthen infrastructure for education and training by establishing an Institute for Public Health Studies. The five-year strategic plan describes the combined set of resources and approaches that enhance our ability to train AA and other underrepresented and socioeconomically disadvantaged students and scientists with focus upon health disparities and inequities. The strategic methods include: 1) strengthening the PhD program in Integrative Biosciences, the Doctoral degree in veterinary medicine and the Master of Science graduate degrees by financially supporting highly qualified students with stipends and fellowships;2) supporting the salaries of highly qualified minority research scientists who engage in minority health disparities research studies and recruit new scientists by providing competitive salaries;3) upgrading the specialized laboratories with state of the art biomedical research equipment;and 4) establishing an Institute for Public Health Studies under which a Master's of Science in Public Health (MSPH) will be offered. Through the Institute for Public Health Studies, we will train students and scientists in community based participatory research to successfully apply knowledge to the BBC of Alabama.
Relevance. As documented by The US Department of Health and Human Services and related agencies, health disparities are of high priority on the national agenda. For example, most racial and ethnic minorities tend to be less healthy, have shorter life spans, and tend to have inferior outcomes once diagnosed with illness. Additionally, the number or persons belonging to minority populations (especially African Americans) who are qualified health professionals are disproportionately low compared to others as well as relative to their representation in the national demographics in the total US population. The College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health, at Tuskegee University proposes to address both of these problems through aggressive research infrastructure and human capacity building to train health professionals through matriculation in veterinary medicine, nursing and allied health sciences, PhD program in Integrative Biosciences and through the newly proposed Institute of Public Health Studies.
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