This proposal seeks to create a pre-doctoral training program ?Arkansas Center for Health Disparities T32 Pre-doctoral Research Training Program? (ARCHD-T32) in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The program builds on the research infrastructure of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) funded Arkansas Center for Health Disparities (ARCHD) Center of Excellence and five social science PhD programs across the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Nursing with support from the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the College of Medicine. ARCHD-T32 provides a formal structure for integrating advanced analytics into social science programs through didactic and applied settings with a focus on reducing health disparities and improving health equity consistent with the priorities of NIMHD. ARCHD-T32 participants will benefit from the ARCHD COE as it provides funding for two research projects, pilot funds for new investigators, and community-engaged research infrastructure. ARCHD-T32 leverages the unique data assets of the UAMS data warehouse, external partners, and the Arkansas All Payer Claims Database to address three specific aims: 1) Create a formal structure for training social scientists in disparities/health equity research using advanced data analytics and a team science approach; 2) Develop formal externship programs with key partners in the state; and 3) Collaborate with the ARCHD, the Translational Research Institute, Regional Programs, the newly formed Institute for Digital Health and Innovation at UAMS and the Institute for Advanced Data Analytics at the University of Arkansas, as well as other national programs. A formal organizational structure including a Multiple Program Director plan that combines expertise from the social sciences, analytics, biostatistics, and informatics is proposed to meet five primary objectives: to recruit a diverse group of trainees with quantitative backgrounds/capabilities and an interest in disparities research; to develop a high- quality, individualized training program in advanced analytics directed at identifying and eliminating healthcare disparities; to increase the workforce in Arkansas and the nation that has advanced analytics capabilities and can contribute to identifying and eliminating healthcare disparities; to foster a training environment based on interdisciplinary expertise and team science that responds to community needs; to evaluate the breadth of the training program with respect to the overarching goal of creating a diverse training program that meets the needs of the state and the nation. Support is requested to create four cohorts of two predoctoral students with two-year training commitments. With technical and financial resources from UAMS and state partners, the proposed training program serves as a national model for addressing health equity using advanced analytics in an environment with pronounced health disparities.
Researchers in the social sciences lack formal training in advanced analytics that may slow progress in understanding complex relationships between social determinants of health and population health outcomes. Multi-disciplinary, team-based science can align research methods in advanced analytics with social science perspectives to produce a new generation of researchers addressing racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare to improve health equity. As the only NIMHD T32 research training program in the state, the proposed program will serve as model to improve disparate population health outcomes in the state, region, and nation.