The University at Albany, State University of New York (UAlbany) will address the public health challenge of a lack of scientists and researchers from diverse backgrounds studying health disparities. UAlbany serves 5,161 minority undergraduate students (or 39.9% of undergraduate enrollment), while minority graduate enrollment only consists of 733 students (or 16.9%) reflecting the national dilemma. Through the Endowment for Community-Based Health Disparities Research and Training, UAlbany will increase the pipeline of new researchers investigating health disparities and inequalities, while concurrently diversifying its faculty and graduate student populations. Building on the work of its Exploratory Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities in Smaller Cities (a NIMHD P20 Center of Excellence), UAlbany will invest over $1 million and hire up to 48 diverse new faculty to complement the NIMHD S21 endowment award in order to bolster its research and training capacity in health disparities. UAlbany will first enhance and diversify graduate doctoral training through the creation of a transdisciplinary PhD-level Health Disparities Fellowship (HDFs) program. Second, the University will incentivize the recruitment, hiring and retention of faculty from racial/ethnic minority populations including the recruitment of a nationally recognized scholar to serve as UAlbany's first Health Disparities Chair. Third, UAlbany colleges and schools will develop new curricula, concepts and approaches to build new academic programs focused exclusively on health disparities. Fourth, UAlbany will reinvigorate and enhance community-based partnerships, particularly in disadvantaged, minority communities, which is the cornerstone of CEMHD's (NIMHD P20 Center) research paradigm. Through the creation of a permanent institutional endowment fund dedicated for health disparities research, UAlbany will provide novel pathways and opportunities to build a more diverse workforce and to create a more conducive scholarly environment for teaching and research to address the societal challenge of health disparities.
NIMHD S21 Endowment funding is sought to continue building capacity and infrastructure for the University at Albany, State University of New York's (UAlbany's) nationally recognized health disparities research, training and outreach activities, specifically in recruiting and graduating more minority graduate students. Through graduate fellowships, faculty mentoring, career development, community based participatory research, the establishment of the UAlbany Endowment for Community-based Health Disparities Research and Training will enable transdisciplinary, interprofessional collaborations and new approaches to promoting an educational culture that will increase the knowledge and understanding of the causes of disparities and help develop methods to identify and prevent them with the ultimate goal of improving the health of under-represented minority communities.