JSU awarded $5.4 million to establish a center of excellence on minority health disparities

Dr. Felix Okojie

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

Dr. Marinelle Payton

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.


Spencer McClenty


39 thoughts on “JSU awarded $5.4 million to establish a center of excellence on minority health disparities

  1. What a waste of money to research a problem for which there is plenty enough of data. JSU should be developing community based intervention programs based upon the existing evidence. This funding will do nothing more than pad the pockets of Payton, Okoje and a few others.

  2. Congratulations to Dr. Okojie and Dr. Payton, certainly, but also congratulations to the JSU research community at large!

  3. “Of all the forms of inequality,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

  4. Congratulations, Dr. Okojie on the award and successful addition of the Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities. We hope our faculty and staff can benefit from the holisic concept of health and wellness. Thank you for your vision of uplifting health disparities among our working demographics.

  5. Congratulations Dr. Payton and Dr. Okojie. What a wonderful accomplishment for you and JSU! This accomplishment impacts health services on a local, national and international basis.

  6. Congratulations to Prof Okojie and Dr Payton. This grant is sure to make a difference in the search for understanding the peculiar nature of health issues afflicting certain groups in the populace. Besides, it goes a long way to enhance the profile of JSUMS as a true centre of academic excellence . Also,congrats to President Carolyn Meryes for good leadership

    • if Marinelle and her staff wrote a grant,
      why to give credit to others? for what?
      is that much insecurity people feel at JSU

  7. Drs. Okojie and Payton,

    Congratulations on this remarkable achievement. Keep up the good work!

    Dr. Ashton Hamme

    • Great Job!!! I am sure the faculty and students of Public Policy and Admin. look forward to working with Drs Payton and Okojie on the effots to address the important public policy issues concerning health disparities in Ms.

  8. Congratulations Dr.Payton.Felix,thank your for your tireless efforts in promoting the interest of the university, and for creating and facilitating funding opportunities for the faculty.

    • Is this what the previous Director of Epi did 5 or 7 years ago?
      did the old center close?
      How many paper published from the old grant in high impact journal, or it was used for summer support and travel.

  9. Drs. Okojie and Payton, Congratulations! This award affords JSU the opportunity to continue to contribute to the science and the dissemination of research findings that help to mitigate health disparities.

  10. I couldn’t have said it better. Congratulations to Drs. Okojie and Payton. WOW! What an awsome opportunity…! Now lets get to work research family!

  11. Congratulations Dr.Payton! I know you are not one to”toot your own horn”, so here I go! Know that your hard work and dedication are appreciated, as you and your team continue to strategically move Jackson State University School of Health Sciences to Mississippi’s and our nation’s forefront, in Public Health design and research to address health disparities in African American and other ehtnic/racial communities.

  12. “Success has a thousand fathers; failure is an orphan”
    Dr. Payton, Congratulations. We hope to see a few articles from this grant in high impact journals, otherwise money will go to waste as we noticed in past funding cycles

  13. Dr. Okojie,
    Thus is indeed a marvelous accomplishment and you made us proud. Your contribution, commitment and devotion to JSU is unparralleled.. Congratulations.

  14. Congratulations! Yet another proud moment for the JSU family, community and nation.
    Alphe Wells
    VP Clinical Operations
    Anderson Regional Medical Center

  15. Congratulations Dr. Okojie!! Your dedication and commitment to excellence in research continues to push Jackson State University to new heights. Now we have the Jackson Heart Coordinating Center and an NIH Transdisciplinary Center of Excellence on National Health Disparities.

    Dr. O, you ROCK!!!

  16. Just wonderful! Congratulations for uplifting health disparity to this level; thanks for all you do.

  17. Dr. Payton and Dr. Okojie, congratulations on this significant award. The fact that JSU is now eligible for endowment funds could be transformative for the School of Public Health.

    James Perkins, PhD

  18. This absolutely tremendous. I’m overwhelmed and proud. Some 30 years ago, BTIHL refused include JSU in the appropriation for Centers of Excellence which was provided for UM,MSU,USM. We requested it for the Meteorology program.

  19. Thanks for all that you do. This is a great achievement and shows the caiber of leadership we have at JSU. Outstanding!
    Dianne Dade Everett

  20. Dr. Felix Okojie and Dr. Marinelle Payton

    Congratulations on this marvelous achievement.

  21. My comments from the previous post regarding the Lily agreements are certainly appropriate for this one. So, here it is again:
    This is truly a remarkable accomplishment that provides additional opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to become more engaged in active research. Congratulations, Dr. Okojie on this outstanding achievement. Your hard work and dedication is helping to move JSU beyond its already worldwide research acclaim with its involvement in the Jackson Heart Study. Thank you for all that you do.
    Under your leadership, JSU is certainly paving the way for developing expert leadership in the field of research and developing scientists who are highly competitive.

    Thank you on behalf of all of us!!

  22. Dr. Felix Okojie,

    Once again, congratulations as you continue tirelessly to create opportunities for JSU and JSU researchers.

    • Congratulations Dr. Payton and Dr. Okojie!!! Another wonderful accomplishment for JSU and its fine faculty and researchers.

      School of Policy and Planning

      • Congrats Dr. Okojie. Your hard work is making JSU shine even brighter. today. We are very proud to see you accomplish great things for us here.

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