The most evident case of disparities in the US is in health care outcomes where disadvantaged minorities have disproportionately high morbidity and mortality in almost all categories of chronic diseases. A major contributing factor to health disparities is the gross under-representation of minorities in biomedical and public health research. Increasing the number of minority scientists actively involved in health disparities research may contribute to reducing, and indeed, eliminating health disparities. We propose the Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) Minority Health and Health Disparities Minority International Research Training (E-MHIRT) Program to provide opportunities for minority students, most of whom come from the rather impoverished part of North Carolina, to gain valuable international biomedical/public health research experience under the tutelage of prominent African scientists in southern Africa. A significant number of these students have never traveled outside of the state. Selected honor students majoring in biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology and social work will spend 10 summer weeks receiving research training. In addition, they will be introduced to the languages and cultural norms of the people there, thus broadening their horizons. We have established research collaborations with scientists involved in drug discovery and diabetes research at the University of Botswana. The E-MHIRT Program will provide international research training opportunities in two specific areas of interest in combating health disparities in the USA and other parts of the world. Part I is Drug Discovery with a goal of introducing new treatment modalities derived from Africa's rich traditional medical practice for such health disparities diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS all of which disproportionately affect minorities, through targeting a critical enzyme (protein) common to these diseases. Part II is a Survey of Risk Factors for High Blood Glucose in Botswana for comparison with our data from the USA, West Indies and Zimbabwe in an effort to identify causes for why diabetes, described by the World Health Organization as a global epidemic, disproportionately affects US minorities. The E-MHIRT students will be given opportunities to present and publish their findings as part of preparing them to be productive biomedical and public health scientists. All E-MHIRT Scholars are expected to graduate from ECSU and pursue careers that directly address minority health and health disparities in the USA, thereby increasing the' number of minorities with expertise and credentials to make critical contributions and decisions on improving the quality of health care delivery to the disadvantaged minorities in the USA. ? ?
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