The overall objective of the Tuskegee University Center for Biomedical Research/Research Centers in Minority Institutions (TU CBR/RCMI) Program is to build upon and develop the University?s research infrastructure and researchers to conduct research related to health disparities. This initiative is centered around: 1) providing the necessary infrastructure, resources, services, and technical support to enhance the ability of the University?s researchers to stay on the cutting-edge of multidisciplinary biomedical research focused on health disparities and 2) supporting the research and career development of junior- and mid-level investigators. These objectives are to be achieved primarily through the following aims: 1) Provide pilot-level funding to support the development and expansion of the biomedical research capacity of TU; 2) Provide core research facilities equipped with the infrastructure, instrumentation, and personnel to support the needs of the TU research community; 3) Engage the community through RCMI-sponsored activities that include the research faculty; and 4) Provide mentorship and career guidance to enhance the transition of junior-level investigators into independent scientists. The overall goal of the CBR/RCMI project (2017-2022) is to continue the development of its infrastructure and increase the numbers and skill proficiency of minority scientists engaged in advanced biomedical research focused on health disparities, including those for HIV, obesity, and prostate cancer, all of which disproportionately affect African Americans and underrepresented minorities. In other words, the goal is to continue support for a competitive, multidisciplinary collaborative environment that advances biomedical research. Tuskegee University has distinctive strengths because it is located in the heart of the Southeast, a region with a large, historically underserved, African American population, and it has a large number of minority faculty members as well as undergraduate and graduate trainees. The goal of the CBR/RCMI will be accomplished through establishment of three synergistic research cores, with services to enable investigative research on health inequities among minority groups, especially African-Americans residing in the ?Black Belt? counties of Alabama. These cores create a stimulating environment that promotes a culture of efficient and timely administrative support that will increase the number of funding submissions and/or acquisitions of extramural funding in biomedical and community engagement research. The Administrative Core will provide multi-functional support through pre- and post-award services; implementation of objectives, directions, and guidance; and oversight to ensure that specific aims and objectives are accomplished. Additionally, the Investigator Development Core will support the development of additional areas of research while enhancing the growth of junior faculty through senior mentorship and bioethics training. Further, through our community engagement core, we will establish relationships, build trust, and engage local communities and community-based organizations to learn from and to educate community members on health issues that affect them. We will also implement an evaluation plan to assess, over a period of five years, the progress, productivity, and accountability of the CBR by using both formative and summative outcomes. The outcome is to increase, by an approved and enforceable protocol that focuses on junior faculty development and productivity, the number of R-type grants awarded and the number of publications in peer- reviewed journals. The availability of advanced research equipment, coupled with the new knowledge generated by TU PhD students, scientists, and collaborators will contribute to the reduction of health disparities in the Black Belt counties of Alabama.
(Overall) This RCMI U54 application is from the existing, successful Tuskegee University (TU) Center for Biomedical Research Program that is committed to the elimination of health disparities in racial/ethnic minority and underserved populations in the ?Deep South?, particularly among African Americans. By leveraging the distinct location of the center in the Alabama Black Belt and the historical mission of Tuskegee University dedicated to the education of minorities, we are uniquely positioned to develop a cadre of underrepresented minorities that are interested in pursuing research careers in basic biologic, behavioral, and community-based research, while simultaneously supporting research projects that are proposed to understand the causes for these health disparities.