June 15, 2012
LOMA LINDA, CA – The Loma Linda University Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine recently learned that funding by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), had been renewed with a grant of more than $5.9 million over the next five years.
The new funds will support research into type 2 diabetes, as well as breast and prostate cancer, among minority populations. It will also facilitate student training programs already in place and enable the center to implement community-based health promotion efforts.
Founded in 2005 through a grant by the NIMHD, and supported by the LLU School of Medicine, the center has developed research training and mentoring programs that have already impacted the lives of several hundred high school, college, graduate, and doctoral students.
These up-and-coming young researchers are chosen from underrepresented groups and are given the opportunity to engage as interns in the latest biomedical research, while looking at health-related issues that disproportionately affect minorities.
The LLU Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine is one of only a handful of centers nationwide recognized as an NIMHD Center of Excellence.
“We are pleased,” says Marino De Leon, PhD, primary investigator and director of the center, “that the NIH has renewed its commitment to support health disparities research at Loma Linda University.”
He continues, “This is a testimony that our peers at the national level and at NIH value the contributions of our center, and are excited by the new initiatives we have proposed for the next five years.”
Over the next half decade, the center plans to integrate public health approaches, as well as social and basic translational research methodology, into studying promising biomarkers for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
The research will be carried out in conjunction with health promotion efforts in the areas of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
The LLU Center for Health Disparities Research will continue its programs to train young minority scientists, creating a competent and diverse workforce of researchers to address major health disparities affecting the nation.
Roger Hadley, MD, dean of the LLU School of Medicine, says, “This significant NIH award is an explicit endorsement of not only the incredible success of the center but also its vision for the future.” He adds, “The goals of this Center of Excellence are solidly aligned with our school’s mission, and the award is wonderful news for Loma Linda.”
Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of Loma Linda University, comments, “This center and its continued funding enable Loma Linda University to expand its key commitments to education of young professionals and to serve our community.” He continues, “Developing minority professionals who can work on some of the most critical health challenges today is a necessity for our country, and Loma Linda is pleased to continue this effort.