Substance use and HIV/AIDS disease are complex disorders that affect the health of disadvantaged racial/ethnic minority groups, largely due to significant health disparities. To make significant progress in identifying the underlying causes of these diseases, and improve their identification, prevention, and treatment, requires the work of a transdisciplinary team of researchers united by a common mission, supported by a connected infrastructure, and working in a geographical location ideally suited for the study of the targeted diseases and disparities. The Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI) at Miami-Dade?s Florida International University (FIU) will focus on developing and sustaining a national clinical and behavioral research program addressing health inequities and disparities associated with substance use problems and HIV for underrepresented minorities. Miami-Dade has a high prevalence of substance use problems and one of the highest HIV incidences in the country, with underrepresented minorities at substantially elevated risk for substance use problems and HIV infection?significant health disparities that our RCMI intends to combat. FIU is a minority serving institution (MSI), and in Fall 2016 had nearly 50,000 students (79% from underrepresented minorities). FIU ranks first nationally in bachelor?s, master?s, and doctoral degrees to Hispanics, and second in degrees to all minorities. The FIU-RCMI health disparity research agenda aligns closely with the FIUBeyondPossible2020 Strategic Plan, which includes an emphasis on expansion, student success, and community engagement in health research and education. Research on health disparities, and on substance use problems and HIV, are now central emphases for FIU. In 2016, health inequities and disparities was one of only four academic areas to receive the designation of FIU Emerging Preeminent Program, indicating the university?s current commitment to cluster hiring and infrastructure support for health disparities research. The FIU-RCMI will include five cores?Administrative, Research Infrastructure, Investigator Development, Community Engagement, and Recruitment?each designed to advance and support the FIU-RCMI?s mission, goals, and aims. Outcomes we anticipate from FIU-RCMI-related health disparities capacity expansion, training and mentorship, and research activities include: substantially increased publications citing NIH support; substantially increased proposal submissions to NIH and other granting organizations; substantially increased grants on health disparities awarded to a greater number of investigators, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups; substantially increased professional development activities; substantially increased national prominence in health disparities research; and, in the longer term, substantially decreased health disparities in substance abuse and HIV among Miami-Dade minority communities.
?Overall Substance use and HIV/AIDS disease are complex disorders which affect the health of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, largely due to significant health disparities. The FIU-RCMI will focus on developing and sustaining a national clinical and behavioral research and training program, in partnership with local minority communities, addressing health inequities and disparities associated with substance use problems and HIV.
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