Obesity is associated with heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers, as well as increased all-cause mortality. Mississippi consistently ranks among the states with the highest rates of obesity, particularly among African Americans. The University of Mississippi Medical Center has a history of success in basic research, including obesity research, and observational studies, but historically has not been strong in clinical or translational research. This application describes a proposed Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR), which will be a partnership involving UMMC, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Tougaloo College, a historically black college/university. The CCTR will also pursue extensive collaboration with the IDeA-funded Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center, and Mayo Clinic's Center for Clinical and Translational Science. An Administrative Core with clear lines of authority and responsibility will be responsible for managing and coordinating the full range of CCTR activities. It will monitor progress toward project goals and milestones, and will have a flexible and responsible leadership and advisory structure that will allow it to realign resources to maximize the beneficial effects of the CCTR. A Community Advisory Board will provide bi-directional communication and guidance on community values, concerns, and needs, and will represent the CCTR to Mississippi communities. A Professional Development Core will offer structured mentorship, protected time for research, and substantial funding for obesity-focused research to junior faculty of all CCTR partners, and will offer training and support for community engaged research to develop the next generation of obesity investigators in Mississippi and increase the diversity of the research workforce. A Clinical Research, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics Core will provide extensive training and assistance with research design and implementation, data collection and management, data analysis, biostatistics, and epidemiology to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and success of clinical and translational obesity research by CCTR faculty members. A Pilot Projects Program will support research projects that are likely to lead to extramural funding and sustained research success, and to improve obesity, related disorders, and health disparities. A Research Service Center will provide ethics consultation and extensive training and assistance with regulatory and administrative management and research implementation. A Tracking and Evaluation Core will provide extensive, accurate, and timely information on CCTR performance and impact to inform project planning and implementation by CCTR leadership and advisory bodies. By realizing the intentions stated above, the CCTR will develop a powerful and sustainable research enterprise that will have an important public health impact by reducing obesity and its complications and health disparities in Mississippi.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, diabetes, cancer, and other disorders, and may contribute to nearly three million deaths per year, worldwide. Since 1980, rates of obesity in the United States have increased greatly, and Mississippi typically has among the highest rates of obesity in the nation, particularly among African Americans. We are proposing to establish a research center that will focus on obesity, studying questions from basic biology to issues of diet and lifestyle, and seeking treatments, including efforts to change diet and exercise habits that can help reduce obesity and the problems it causes, and also reduce racial and ethnic disparities related to obesity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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Gao, Hongwei
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University of Mississippi Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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