Three translational research projects, encompassing the areas of basic biomedical, behavioral and clinical research, and representing 3 of the 6 schools of the UPR-MSC are currently supported by the Center for Collaborative Research in Minority Health and Health Disparities (CCRMHD).
The research projects were selected after a competitive process that included external evaluations of scientific merit and internal assessment of the relevance and alignment of the proposals to the U54 RCMI and the MSC Campus goals for addressing health disparities and faculty career development.
Our first objective was to include competitive translational studies covering health areas targeted for development at the UPR-MSC that disproportionately affect the Puerto Rican population, as well as other Hispanic populations. The selected Research Projects focus on three of the targeted health disparities areas: cancer, cardiovascular diseases and obesity, a risk factor for both cardiovascular and metabolic disease. These diseases/disorders represent some of the greatest threats to the health of the Puerto Rican population (Puerto Rico Community Health Assessment, Department of Health, 2012) and are aggravated by the low socioeconomic status of the Island. The most recent data from the American Community Survey shows that Puerto Rico had the lowest household income compared to all other states and Washington DC in 2014 and 2015 (US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Household Income: 2015, September 2016).
Our second objective was to include investigators at different stages of their careers (assistant-associate-professor level) who have not yet received an RO1 grant and are likely to benefit from the funding and mentoring support to be provided by the CCRMHD. All three investigators meet these criteria. The expectation is that during or by the end of RCMI support, these investigators will be successful in obtaining independent competitive funding (RO1, R21 grants).