UNM Health Sciences Receives $7 Million Five Year Grant to Create Center to Research Causes and Solutions of Health Disparities within the State

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities has announced the award of a $7 million, five-year grant to UNM to establish the New Mexico Center for Advancement of Research, Engagement and Science on Health Disparities (NM CARES HD). The center will be a multidisciplinary effort partnership with communities to research the causes and solutions of health disparities in New Mexico.

“Partnering with communities throughout the state, we’ll work to identify and reduce the health disparities affecting the state's Hispanic and Native American communities,” said Paul Roth, M.D., UNM executive vice-president for Health Sciences. “The goal is to develop multilevel interventions, and apply evidence-, cultural-, and community-based strategies to solving health inequalities that affect our citizens.” Initial research projects will target the problem of serious adolescent mental, emotional and behavioral problems, including suicide, and enhancing primary care for patients with substance use disorders.

“I am proud that UNM has received this important funding to establish NM CARES HD,” said U.S. Senator Tom Udall. “This center will be able to provide critical information that can be used to improve the health and quality of health care for New Mexicans. Health centers like this are essential to closing the gap and eliminating health disparities among different racial and ethnic groups.”

“Students will be trained to do research on the solutions to health disparities, and resources will be provided to community and university members to research new strategies for eliminating disparities,” said Robert Williams, M.D., professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and director of the new center.

“An important part of the NM CARES HD activities will be to create a partnership with communities to jointly work on the underlying problems that lead to health disparities.”

Several training activities in the Center will also support the growth of research on health disparities. The University will contribute substantial funding to support the Center's work, including sponsoring an annual national conference on health disparities.

“Our mission at the Health Sciences Center is to work with community partners to help New Mexico achieve more progress in health and health equity than any other state by 2020,” said Art Kaufman, M.D., vice president, Office of Community Health. “We are committed to being a model for other public and private academic health centers, as the nation’s irst academic center to tie our success to the health of our state’s populations.”

Led by members of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, the new Center is collaboration between the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy, the UNM Cancer Center, and departments of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Psychology, the Office of the Vice-President for Community Health, the Office of Research, the UNM Clinical and Translational Research Center, and the HSC Executive Vice-President.

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