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National Center for Research Resources

National Center on Minority Health
and Health Disparities

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lori Mulligan

NCRR Launches National Network to Connect Investigators Based at Minority Institutions
Award Will Facilitate Multi-Site Collaborative Clinical and Translational Research

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today it will initially provide $9.5 million over three years to launch a Translational Research Network that will increase the opportunity for multi-site clinical and translational research among minority and other collaborating institutions throughout the nation. Investigators at these institutions are focused on cancer, diabetes, renal disease, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, and cardiovascular diseases, diseases that disproportionately affect minority populations.

Translational research conducted in the network will range from those studies focused on applying discoveries generated during research in the laboratory to clinical trials, and then to developing and implementing best practices in disease prevention and intervention in local community settings.

By providing computer-based tools for analyzing and managing clinical research data, recruiting for clinical trials, and sharing information with patients, the network will enable clinical and translational researchers to collaborate more efficiently with each other and their communities.

The principal investigator leading the network is Keith Norris, M.D., an expert in kidney disease at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles, Calif. Other participating institutions are Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga; University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii; Hunter College, CUNY, New York; University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; and Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss.

“The network will allow investigators to pool resources and expertise as they conduct high quality, collaborative, multi-center research that will increase the productivity and impact of each of the individual centers,” said Norris. “It also is designed to integrate clinical, biomedical, and behavioral researchers with community health providers and community leaders into novel geographic and ethnically diverse research partnerships.”

The Data Technology and Coordinating Center for the network will be located at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. The center will provide a secure website, data management and data sharing tools, staff, hardware, and software for collection, analysis, storage, and exchange of clinical data for the multi-site studies.

The institutions participating in the network are part of the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program (RCMI). Funded by NCRR since 1985, the RCMI program enhances the research capacity and infrastructure at minority colleges and universities that award doctorates in the health and health-related sciences.

In addition, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, another component of NIH, will contribute to the funding for the network.

“The infrastructure, particularly informatics tools, provided by the network will allow RCMI investigators to leverage more effectively the resources that are in place at their institutions to provide greater opportunities for minority populations to participate in NIH-funded clinical trials,” said NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D.

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. Central to this effort, NCRR leads the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program — a national consortium of academic health centers that will transform the conduct of clinical and translational research to ensure that biomedical discoveries are rapidly translated into prevention strategies and clinical treatments for rare and common diseases. Through the CTSA consortium and other collaborations, NCRR connects researchers with one another, and with patients and communities across the nation. For more information, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov.

The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) promotes minority health and leads, coordinates, supports, and assesses the NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. In this effort, NCMHD conducts and supports basic, clinical, social, and behavioral research, promotes research infrastructure and training, fosters emerging programs, disseminates information, and reaches out to minority and other health disparity communities. For more information, visit www.ncmhd.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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