The overall goal of SHERC is to increase basic biomedical, clinical, and behavioral research at NAU to address health disparities among diverse populations of the Southwestern United States. In the first 5 years, we will increase research capacity in the areas of environmental and community health, building on a strong research base at NAU. Over time, SHERC will work closely with community partners to expand capacity to address health disparities in chronic and infectious diseases, as well as high-priority behavioral health conditions, as determined by community partners. SHERC consists of five cores that all interact synergistically. Each of the SHERC cores provides a clear opportunity for innovation individually; in combination, they demonstrate significant impact in innovation. The Administrative Core combines evidence-based organizational theory with a tested but novel use of a ?continuous improvement? model of program assessment and feedback. The Research Infrastructure Core will focus on infrastructure improvement for the SHERC basic research, informatics, clinical, and community engaged science programs. In addition, it will take a leadership role in improving the interdisciplinary science efforts in biomedical, clinical, and community health science initiatives throughout NAU. The Investigator Development Core will support the development of early career investigators in basic biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences at NAU through two innovative programs: a Pilot Project Program (PPP) to support faculty and a Postdoctoral Scholar Program (PSP) to support and mentor postdoctoral researchers. The Community Engagement Core uses an innovative four- direction Framework for Inquiry and Action that will represent the shared and distinct determinants of health in Arizona. The five Research Projects include the following innovative studies: Pearson's research project will define and contrast S. aureus carriage and circulating genotypes with clinical genotypes and infection prevalence to better understand how social interactions impact transmission. Kellar and Propper seek to enhance current research on the relationship between environmental contaminants and clinical complications such as non-healing chronic wounds. The Varadaraj study will exploit a cellular adaptation in tumors, to determine whether altering fibrillogenesis in such states will switch premalignant cells to malignant cells and whether preinvasive cells would become invasive. Naren's study has the potential to improve and extend reovirus based cancer therapies. Fofonav's study may identify individuals with an oral microbiome that is more susceptible to early childhood caries (ECC) or individuals with particularly pathogenic strains of S. mutans and S. sobrinus.

Public Health Relevance

The Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative (SHERC) will recruit and support a new cadre of health- equity related researchers to grow basic biomedical, clinical, and behavioral research under the umbrella of a health equity focus. SHERC research projects will explore environmental factors and conditions that might lead to increased risk for health issues and disease transmission, and biological variables that may affect disease mortality in the underserved. In collaboration with community-based organizations, community leaders, policy experts, and researchers, SHERC will identify relevant strategies to enhance community assets and resilience to minimize the impacts of health disparities in our region.

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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Jones, Nancy Lynne
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Northern Arizona University
Sch Allied Health Professions
United States
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Trotter 2nd, Robert T; Lininger, Monica R; Camplain, Ricky et al. (2018) A Survey of Health Disparities, Social Determinants of Health, and Converging Morbidities in a County Jail: A Cultural-Ecological Assessment of Health Conditions in Jail Populations. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15:
Varadaraj, Archana; Magdaleno, Carina; Mythreye, Karthikeyan (2018) Deoxycholate Fractionation of Fibronectin (FN) and Biotinylation Assay to Measure Recycled FN Fibrils in Epithelial Cells. Bio Protoc 8:
Trotter Ii, Robert T; Camplain, Ricky; Eaves, Emery R et al. (2018) Health Disparities and Converging Epidemics in Jail Populations: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study. JMIR Res Protoc 7:e10337