The goal of this proposal is to establish a Center for Urban Health Disparities Research and Innovation at Morgan State University (MSU) (RCMI@Morgan) to combat urban health and health disparity issues in Baltimore and similar urban settings. The RCMI@Morgan will: 1) strengthen MSU's research infrastructure for knowledge acquisition and translational research in biomedical sciences; 2) provide a host of professional development programs to nurture a group of health disparities researchers and innovators; 3) strengthen collaborations with the two research-intensive institutions in Baltimore (Johns Hopkins University ? JHU and the University of Maryland, Baltimore - UMB); and 4) engage in collaborations with community-based organizations and government agencies. The proposed areas of health disparities/urban health research include infectious diseases, cardiovascular health, cancers and diabetes, drug addiction research, health informatics, and food security. The three proposed RCMI research projects are: 1) The relationship between socioeconomic status and poverty and mRNA expression in immune cells; 2): Assessing the effectiveness of virtual versus in-person motivation for smoking cessation among youths and adults; 3) HIV/HCV-related health disparities in Baltimore: from community to lab bench. Through the RCMI pilot project program, we will fund and nurture a cadre of MSU researchers in the aforementioned urban health and health disparities research areas, including potential translational research projects for commercialization. A unique feature of RCMI@Morgan is to blend the basic science researchers with the behavioral/public health researchers. We will also recruit a senior basic biomedical science researcher who will help to develop partnerships among the researchers, and team up with senior faculty members from MSU, JHU and UMB. Further, we will collaborate with researchers from other RCMI institutions through the RCMI Translational Research Network's Data Coordinating Center (RTRN DCC), to mentor all the junior faculty members at MSU to develop them as independent researchers. Finally, the RCMI@Morgan will become a research hub on urban health disparities and an integral part of the City of Baltimore through community engagement and community- based participatory research.
The RCMI application is to establish a center at Morgan State University (RCMI@Morgan) to conduct research on urban health and health disparities. Morgan State University is a historically black university located in Baltimore, Maryland. Establishment of the RCMI@Morgan will allow for the study of major threats to people's health in Baltimore areas (e.g., infectious diseases, addiction research, obesity and cancer, food security, and health informatics, etc.), and offer solutions to enhance health for all citizens and to eliminate health disparities. The Research Infrastructure Core will establish three core facilities: Animal Research Core (ARC), Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Support Unit (BBSU), and Molecular and Cell Biology Core (MCB) with new technologies and instrumentations needed for a successful research faculty. The Investigator Development Core will manage a Pilot Program including some translational research technology transfer projects. The Investigator Development Core will work with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland Baltimore to train early career faculty for state-of- the-art research in health disparities and urban health. Another innovative feature is the collaborative workshops lead by faculty to merge the basic biomedical and social/behavioral faculty, as well as a scientific writing accountability groups. The Community Engagement Core will collaborate with community groups and governments to facilitate ?Community- Based Participatory Research.? There will be three research projects in this proposed RCMI@Morgan: 1) The relationship between socioeconomic status and poverty and mRNA expression in immune cells; 2): Assessing the effectiveness of virtual versus in-person- motivation for smoking cessation among youths and adults; 3) HIV/HCV-related health disparities in Baltimore: from community to lab bench. But the development of research capability is not restricted to these areas as the Administrative Core will team up with the Investigator Development Core to organize workshops, seminars, symposia, and conferences in many diseases-centered topics including technology transfer topics to educate a cadre of faculty to engage in health disparities research and innovation.