As described in another article in this quarter’s edition of The Research Rainmaker, the American South is home to the largest minority population in the United States. With high levels of chronic disease and poor health outcomes, researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Tulane University, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) are looking to combat these regional health disparities together.
On July 19, nearly 200 investigators from UTHSC, Tulane, and UMMC gathered in Jackson, MS for the Delta Clinical and Translational Health Disparities Conference. Envisioned by Steven R. Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for Research at UTHSC, Richard L. Summers, MD, vice chancellor for Research at UMMC, and Laura S. Levy, PhD, vice president for Research at Tulane, the conference was designed to bring together health disparities researchers from UTHSC with those from UMMC and Tulane, allowing them to share their research interests, and catalyze new collaborative partnerships that will result in the submission of a UTHSC/TU/UMMC Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) Award proposal in Health Disparities Research.
“The Delta Clinical and Translational Science Conference, on the subject of Health Disparities, is the first event of this kind engaging researchers from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Tulane University, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center,” Dr. Goodman said. “This conference, with its outstanding symposia and poster sessions, will further enhance partnerships that will lead to robust basic, translational, clinical and population research on major diseases that impact our region and the nation.”
The UTHSC/TU/UMMC CORNET Award proposal in Health Disparities Research was announced earlier this summer and is poised to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary, team-based health disparities research that involves investigators from UTHSC, Tulane, and UMMC. The award is designed to promote new lines of research and provide seed money that will give rise to future external grant funding. To be eligible for a UTHSC/TU/UMMC CORNET Award in Health Disparities Research, each proposal must include, at a minimum, one faculty member from each participating institution. Resources are available to fund up to two awards, for up to $75,000/award, for one year.
“Increasingly, we recognize the importance of bringing together multiple disciplines to solve complex health issues. The CORNET Awards will facilitate new collaborations and innovative solutions to persistent health disparities,” Michelle Martin, PhD, co-director of the UTHSC Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute and director of the Center for Innovation in Health Equity Research: A Community Cancer Alliance for Transformative Change said.
The free conference featured nine keynote speakers from each institution, a robust poster session which allowed attendees to feature their health disparities research, and networking. A diverse set of research topics were presented, ranging from disparities in breast cancer to pediatric inequities associated with healthy mental and physical development.
“We were very excited about the enthusiastic response for our faculty who are interested in preventing and eliminating health disparities in the region and look forward to improving the health of our states,” Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPH, co-director of the UTHSC Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Endowed Professor of Women’s Health in the Department of Preventive Medicine said.
Launched almost three years ago by Dr. Goodman, the CORNET Awards program has been the catalyst of multiple collaborative partnerships between researchers at UTHSC internally and across the state of Tennessee, with various academic institutions regionally and globally, and with industry partners. To date, the CORNET Awards have provided more than $1.4 million in funding to new teams of researchers.
To learn more about the UTHSC/TU/UMMC CORNET Award proposal in Health Disparities Research, please visit the UTHSC Office of Research Development’s website. Proposals are due by Wednesday, September 12, 2018 with funding set to begin December 1, 2018. If you have questions about the CORNET Award in Health Disparities Research or need help finding potential collaborators, please e-mail Lisa Youngentob, firstname.lastname@example.org.