AHSC Awarded Grant to Reduce Health Disparities

With a population that is 35 percent Latino and Native American, Arizona suffers from staggering health disparities, made even more severe by the absence of a diverse biomedical and health-care workforce.

Looking to create a nationwide model for the development of underrepresented researchers in the biomedical sciences, the Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) has been awarded a $1.25 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to recruit, train and retain physician-scientists committed to academia.

The Arizona Pride-25 Advanced Health Disparities Training Program in Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep Conditions grant will enhance diversity and capacity for health disparities research in clinical and translational health sciences by training and mentoring early-career academics who come from under-represented minority backgrounds, including people with living disabilities.

Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MDJoe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences and interim dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, will serve as the program’s director and principal investigator. Francisco A. Moreno, MD, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion at AHSC, professor of psychiatry and director of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson Office of Diversity and Inclusion, will serve as co-director and co-principal investigator.

The grant will fund a yearlong interdisciplinary training program designed to assist junior facultyDr. Francisco A. Moreno members and transitioning postdoctoral fellows by offering mentoring and leadership development activities, advanced disparities research training and project-based experiences.

The application period for interested junior faculty members opens Dec. 1, to apply, visit: http://www.biostat.wustl.edu/pridecc/

A collective commitment supports the Arizona Pride effort, as AHSC faculty – who are research leaders in an array of health-related specialties and fields – will serve as advisory committee members and mentors to create a rigorous interprofessional research training program.

AHSC faculty mentors will teach Arizona Pride mentees successful grant writing, bioethics, scientific writing and provide presentation workshops, as well as global, border and Native American health training and the use of telemedicine and communication technology as tools to decrease health disparities. The program also will include tailored career development and leadership training.

The training will include two 14-day summer sessions, linked by distance learning inter-health disparities research experience to supplement direct instruction and support programs, led by an interdisciplinary team of AHSC faculty mentors affiliated with the grant.

“We anticipate the Arizona Pride program to serve as a nationwide model for the development, recruitment and retention of under-represented biomedical scientists into academia,” Dr. Garcia said. “Our final goal is for the sustained reduction of health disparities through impactful research and the development of the next generation of physician-scientists.”  

For more information on the grant, please email, azpride@ahsc.arizona.edu or call 520-621-0235.