Children of color in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area are among the most disadvantaged in the nation. The Washington DC/Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities was formed in 2001 as the only center funded by the Center on Minority Health that is focused exclusively on child health disparities. The Center is a collaborative partnership between Howard University Department of Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center, and the Johns Hopkins University Department of Pediatrics. The major goal of the Center is to conduct original and innovative research to improve health in communities of color and reduce child health disparities in violence-related injuries and exposure, substance use, and chronic diseases such as childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma. This focus is based on evidence that adult health disparities have their origin in child health disparities and that social factors are important determinants of both child and adult health disparities in this country. While we have made considerable progress in identifying social factors that promote risk behaviors as well as facilitate resiliency and health in children and families, it is clear that other variables may also contribute to the development of child health disparities, especially in communities that are plagued by high levels of environmental stressors such as poverty, violence, and social stratification. For example, there is evidence that genetic factors may influence responses to environmental stressors such as violence exposure and subsequently increase the likelihood of youth risk behaviors such as drug use. There is also growing awareness of the importance of genetic factors in the etiology of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and asthma in children. Consistent with these findings, a recent IOM report recommends that research on gene-environment interactions is necessary to fully address health disparities. Therefore, in this renewal application, the Washington DC/Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities seeks five years of funding to expand its research focus on child health disparities by partnering with researchers from the National Human Genome Center at Howard University, the Genetic Laboratory at Children's Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University to conduct research on gene-environment interactions related to child health disparities in violence exposure, substance use, and chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, and asthma). The Center will consist of two primary cores: a Research Core and an Administrative Core. The Administrative Core will provide the infrastructure and assistance for the Center and will include the Community and Scientific Advisory Boards. The Research Core is designed to strengthen and extend the existing base of disparity-relevant research and will provide oversight for two primary studies and three pilot studies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-DIG-E (52))
Program Officer
Tabor, Derrick C
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Howard University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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