Under the leadership of Dr. Paul Juarez, the CEOC will establish the Academic/Community Partnership to Reduce Health Disparities (ACP) to coordinate community involved research, education and outreach activities at MMC, TSU, and Vanderbilt University. Dr. Juarez has considerable experience in conducting community-based participatory research, providing continuing education, training, and outreach to health professionals and community providers, and promoting consumer health education. The ACP will extend efforts begun by the Community Outreach Core (COC) of the Meharry EXPORT Center over the past four years in which the COC established an institutional committee to coordinate community engaged research, education, and outreach across research centers at Meharry (see progress report). It is our hypothesis that engaging community participation in efforts to reduce health disparities in racial/ethnic minority communities will yield new knowledge about the role of individual, community, and macro social level determinants of diseases and public health conditions that will lead to effective interventions and a reduction in health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities. The overall goals of the ACP is to provide a comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated plan of activities organized around defined areas of health disparities to (1) advance community participation in health disparities research arising from diseases and public health conditions that disproportionately affect minority populations;(2) promote the translation and diffusion of evidence-based research findings into clinical and public health practice with our community partners;and (3) coordinate community health education and outreach activities among the three academic partner institutions;and (4) reduce health disparities in Nashville/Davidson County. The ACP will work with existing community engagement cores of other research center at the three institutions communities that promotes a systems framework in addressing health disparities. The ACP initially will invite Core research faculty and members of existing community advisory groups of research, education, and training centers at Meharry, TSU, and Vanderbilt to participate in a coordinated effort to reduce health disparities in Nashville/Davidson County. It also will work to identify and coordinate efforts to address other unmet health needs and areas of health disparities. Community partners will include representatives from public, non-profit and faith based organizations, public schools, and businesses in Nashville/Davidson County. For the purpose of this application, the primary community of interest is underserved minority populations that experience health disparities within Nashville/Davidson County. However, our efforts to engage community in research, education, and outreach will extend beyond the community of interest to include other organizations and individuals that are located in or serve the needs of residents of Nashville/Davidson County. Existing centers at the three institutions with organized community-based research continuing health education, and community education and outreach cores to address areas of health disparities include: the U54 Vanderbilt/Meharry Cancer Center (UNPAC), the Urban Partnership Academic Center of Excellence to prevent youth violence (NCCYS), the Title HI Ryan White HIV/AIDS Center for Health Promotion (HTV/AIDS Community Advisory Committee), state model AHEC program (community health professions advisory committee), the Center for Women's Health, and the .HBCU Wellness Program (obesity/diabetes/chronic diseases), and the Vanderbilt/Meharry CTSA. Dr. Juarez serves on the community engagement and/or advisory groups for each of these major research centers. The ACP also will work with Alignment Nashville, a community-based organization established to increase community participation with the public schools, to coordinate health education and careers in health professions education and training opportunities for middle and high school students in the Nashville Public Schools. 4.4.1.
Specific Aims. Specific aims of the Community Engagement and Outreach Core are to: 1. Establish the Academic/Community Partnership to Reduce Health Disparities in Nashville/Davidson County. 2. Engage the community to participate in the development, conduct, and evaluation of a health disparities research (e.g. CBPR); 3. Provide continuing education on best practices for addressing health disparities to health care providers who work with medically underserved populations; 4. Recruit disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students at the target middle and high schools in Nashville Public Schools to participate in academic enrichment and support services to better prepare them for careers in health professions;. 5. Host promote community outreach and education to reduce health disparities;and 6. Conduct an annual academic/community health summit on health disparities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Meharry Medical College
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