Jackson State University, through the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Services Research, has been awarded a five-year $5.4 million grant by the National Institutes of Health – National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to establish a NIH Transdisciplinary Center of Excellence on National Health Disparities.
The Center will be managed by Dr. Marinelle Payton who serves as the Assistant Dean for Research in the College of Public Service and Principal Investigator of this grant award. “This project has much public health relevance in that it will utilize multi-transdisciplinary research approaches and strategies to implement multi-level individual, population –based, and policy interventions to address health disparities, especially, as related to obesity and becoming a model for understanding and improving the health of minorities and underserved populations in Mississippi,” says Dr. Felix Okojie, Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Professor of Public Health and Education.
The JSU Center will focus on understanding minority health disparities through
intensive, multidisciplinary research projects and approaches designed to accelerate the translation of research findings into improvements in patient care, community health, education and training of current and future health disparity researchers and practitioners. The specific aims are to: develop and maintain an administrative and institutional infrastructure to support the project as a whole; advance scientific understanding of the interrelationship between abdominal obesity and genetics; carry out translational research that will contribute to knowledge and eliminate health disparities; provide exemplary research training and education activities to students and junior faculty from health disparity populations to increase the numbers of well-trained researchers from minority and health disparity populations; and, to engage minority and health disparity communities in effective and sustainable partnerships and activities for improving the health of their communities, increasing the numbers of individuals from minority and health disparity populations engaged in research activities for increasing health literacy and knowledge of health disparities.
Most significantly, the Center will enhance the quality and quantity of research on minority health and health disparities, provide high quality research career development training, and strengthen community ties.
“As a result of being funded as a NIH Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities, Jackson State University will be eligible to apply for the endowment funds available for health research, education, and training,” according to Dr. Felix Okojie.