The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), through support from the Research Centers at Minority Institutions (RCMI) has created the Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC) to address issues of Hispanic Health Disparities unique to the far West Texas region that we call the Borderplex. In this proposal UTEP has developed an extensive cadre of collaborators consisting of experts from regional academic, medical, and community partners with the goal to address cancer health disparities that permeate our majority Mexican American population. When combined with our sister city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, we represent the largest binational community in the world, with nearly 3 million people. The overall goal for this application is to develop, grow and sustain the extant infrastructure and programs of the BBRC, as well as to recruit, train, and develop cancer scientists and health practitioners to promote high quality cancer research and to translate meaningful findings back to the community. Through mentoring, pilot programs, and enhanced research infrastructure we seek to promote investigator competitiveness in acquiring extramural funding to address regional disease disparities. We also seek to generate an environment that creates pipelines for undergraduate and graduate students into biomedical careers and serves as a major point of entry for Hispanics and other underrepresented minorities into the nation?s biomedical workforce. These outcomes will be obtained through the achievement of five specific objectives which are to: (1) Contribute, to cancer research through innovative (a) basic; (b) behavioral; or (c) clinical studies within our geographically isolated and underserved Mexican American population. Increased emphasis on epidemiology and collaborations with clinical and public health specialists is within the context of the University?s mission to address the broader scope of pressing health problems in its service population. (2) Strengthen research infrastructure and, thereby, capabilities of BBRC investigators through (a) enhancement of extant multi-user core facilities for research related to proteins, DNA, cell culture, biorepository, biostatistics and bioinformatics; (3) Recruit experienced faculty members to address cancer health issues; (4) Facilitate the professional development and mentoring of BBRC investigators, including postdocs via (a) training/education, (b) pilot grant programs focusing on our cancer project themes, and through interdisciplinary research, address important health disparity issues and (5), Promote meaningful community partnerships to engage and recruit participants for research studies and augment outreach and dissemination efforts, through community events, discussions, seminars, and international symposia for our scientific professionals to share findings and best practices. Included in infrastructure enhancement are physical plant components that support research, an administrative core to carry out coordination, management and governance of program components, an evaluative component to ensure programmatic and border health objectives are achieved, and ultimately the development of new approaches to reduce cancer health disparities in our underrepresented population.

Public Health Relevance

The University of Texas at El Paso?s RCMI program proposes to address cancer health disparities that profoundly impact our community. We realize that only through research, the integration of scientists and medical professionals working together with the community, will we be able to address these issues. This proposal has been designed to provide an integrated approach of technical and human engagement to address cancer health disparities and move towards health equity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1)
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Rajapakse, Nishadi
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University of Texas El Paso
Schools of Arts and Sciences
El Paso
United States
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