Specific Aims The Tuskegee RCMI Community Engagement Core is developing a national standard for how to apply high impact research to socially isolated and economically disadvantaged communities. These communities include rural areas in the Black Belt. Over the last three years, the CEC in union with its partners, has developed strong rapport in local Black Belt communities. We are using what we learned from resident engagement to develop a model for empowering rural residents to achieve optimal wellbeing. Given our growing partnerships with community organizations throughout the Black Belt, the CEC is uniquely positioned to redouble our effectiveness by expanding the scope of the services we provide. Through this proposal, we seek to establish the infrastructure for developing a research and training center that empowers rural Black Belt communities while levering community alliances to enhance health outcomes. The mission and purpose of the center is to create sustainable mechanisms for helping Black Belt residents master their health, social, and economic destiny. Our core value is to champion ethical research, self- determination, collective and individual empowerment. ? Specific Aim 1: Establish a foundation for the Tuskegee University Rural Health and Economic Disparities Research Center. The center will be composed of a multisectoral team of relevant experts. ? Specific Aim 2: Establish the Black Belt Digital Network (BBDN) to manage the dissemination of scientific findings to residents across the Alabama Black Belt. ? Specific Aim 3: Unite faculty expertise to develop and implement a multilayered GIS map application of the Alabama Black Belt. This project will expand upon what we have learned to develop an information delivery network between the Center and rural residents, many of whom do not have access to broadband. Through the distribution of faculty research and built environment data, we will provide rural residents with the tools to overcome barriers to health enhancing information. We have established partnerships with community residents who will assume a fundamental role in executing project aims including a community-based Project Assistant. Residents will also produce town halls and provide built environment information for the BBDN.

Public Health Relevance

This project will implement the Black Belt Digital Network (BBDN) to empower rural residents with information on health assets and barriers embedded in their community. The BBDN will be a component of the infrastructure used to build the Center for Rural Health and Economic Disparities. Health-enhancing information for the BBDN will be provided via collaboration among residents, community partners, and research faculty.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Tyus, Nadra
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Tuskegee University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Tuskegee Institute
United States
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