UAMS Awarded $5.5M Extension to Study Health Disparities

by Mark Carter  on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 10:11 am  

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences campus in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Center for Health Disparities at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been awarded a federal grant extension of more than $5.5 million to continue its focus on improving health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities.

The center, established in 2007, is a program of the Fay Boozman College of Public Health and is funded through the National Institutes of Health.

The center's mission is to develop research to improve access to quality prevention and health care programs for racial and ethnic minorities, according to a news release.

"We are extremely proud of the work we've accomplished and are excited that it is being recognized with the continued funds to move forward," said Jim Raczynski, dean of the UAMS College of Public Health and director of the center. "In order to adequately address the unique health disparities in our largely rural state, it is necessary to continue the groundbreaking research being done here in collaboration with key statewide partners."

Those partners include the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, and the state's three historically black colleges and universities -- the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Philander Smith College and Arkansas Baptist College.

The center's specific focus is on chronic disease disparities in the state, including obesity, long-term disability, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, according to the release. Arkansas consistently ranks among the worst in the nation in health indicators and health disparities, it said.

ARCHD researcher Holly Fenix noted that Arkansas has one of the nation's fastest growing Latino populations and the largest Marshallese community outside the Marhall Islands in addition to a substantial African-American population in the Mississippi Delta region.

"Our state has a strong need for the continued development of research projects to work toward making a difference in the health of these unique minority populations," she said.



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