Center for Health Disparities Research at UCR (HDR@UCR) We propose a research center with a focus on health disparities among Latino/Hispanic communities in Inland Southern California, a rapidly growing and diverse region of more than 4.3 million people. There are pronounced health disparities in the region, which is also characterized by a severe shortage of healthcare professionals, particularly primary care physicians. Leading the Center will be the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), a federally designated Hispanic-serving Institution and a national model for diversity and student success.
The aims of the Center for Health Disparities at UCR include creating a rich interdisciplinary and collaborative environment for health disparities research, infusing community-engaged research methods into the academic culture, and equipping investigators with tools and training to improve their extramural funding success. The Center will bring together broad interdisciplinary approaches, including environmental sciences and biomedical sciences, as well as social science methods to study health disparities. This Center will be built around a Community Engagement and Dissemination Core, based in the UCR School of Medicine Center for Healthy Communities, which has already established community networks among the Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Native American communities in the region. Our Center will also provide expanded capabilities in disparities research with the Research Infrastructure Core, providing a range of training programs for graduate, postdoctoral, and new Principal Investigator development. Importantly, this Core will also create an innovative social sciences collaboratory as a new model for continuity in community-engaged social sciences research. There are two Research Projects in this Center, with one basic biomedical project focused on testing the correlates of environmental aerosol exposures in Latino neighborhoods in eastern Coachella Valley with asthma and cardiopulmonary disease. A behavioral research project will focus on the relationship between infant feeding styles and practices in low-income Latino families and infant growth and obesity. In addition, an Investigator Development Core will support pilot research projects for young investigators, incorporating a mentorship program to assist investigators with grantsmanship skills and training in community-based research. Finally, we will establish a Recruitment Core, which will build on recent success at UCR in recruiting and hiring a diverse faculty cohort. The Center has been designed to move UCR toward realizing its tremendous potential to become a national leader in health disparities research and training and to inform the national dialogue on health disparities in Latino communities.
The proposed center, Center for Health Disparities Research at UCR (HDR@UCR), will expand institutional capacity to conduct high-quality research leading to interventions that improve the health of Latino communities in a large, rapidly growing and diverse region of California. Additionally, the center will inform the national dialogue on health disparities and expand the biomedical and behavioral research workforce through innovative training, mentorship and career development activities.