News Release

Friday, August 23, 2019

NIH funds eleven Research Centers in Minority Institutions

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, has funded three new awards and renewed the awards of eight institutions previously funded under the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Specialized Centers program. The RCMI develops and strengthens the research infrastructure necessary to conduct state-of-the-art biomedical research and foster the next generation of researchers from underrepresented populations. The centers will share approximately $187 million over their five-year project periods, subject to available funds.

The purpose of the RCMI Program, which was established in 1985, is to support institutions that offer doctorate degrees in the health professions or in a health-related science and that have a commitment to educating underrepresented students. Additionally, the program supports institutions that deliver health care and provide clinical services to medically underserved communities. The overall goals are to advance the science of minority health and health disparities in multiple disciplines, promote the diversity of the biomedical workforce and reduce health disparities and promote health equity.

Grants within this program are committed to fostering the next generation of researchers through opportunities to engage in rigorous, mentored research experiences focused on diseases that disproportionately affect minority and other health disparity populations. Building and enhancing research capacity and infrastructure through investigator development, state-of-the-art information systems, and opportunity to collaborate within and across institutions, are at the core of the RCMI program. Community engagement in the research process is also an essential program component.

“The RCMI is a legacy program critical to NIMHD’s vision of enhancing the science of minority health and health disparities,” said NIMHD Director Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D. “The new round of funding promotes advancement of current research while expanding the range of research projects and institutions supported through this program.”

The 11 RCMI award recipients are:

Accelerating Excellence in Translational Science (AXIS)
Jaydutt Vadgama, Ph.D.
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles

AXIS will provide opportunities for interventions to reduce health disparities within one of the most underserved and under-resourced areas of Los Angeles, with predominately Hispanic and African American residents; focusing socio-economic and environmental factors and using the precision medicine model in the areas of cancer, cardiometabolic diseases, and HIV/AIDS.

Border Biomedical Research Center
Robert Kirken, Ph.D.
University of Texas at El Paso

BBRC will address cancer health disparities through innovative basic, behavioral and clinical studies within the geographically isolated and underserved Mexican American population located in the West Texas region known as the Borderplex.

Center for Translational Research in Health Disparities
Vincent Bond, Ph.D.
Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta
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The center will bring together expertise of the RCMI program cores with community and clinical researchers and partners to build a Multidisciplinary Translational Teams (MDTT’s) through research projects with a health disparities focus, targeted at more rapid translation of health disparities (e.g., cancer, stroke, infectious diseases, cardiometabolic diseases and reproductive health) by expanding the baseline research infrastructure.

Enhancement of Cancer Research at Clark Atlanta University
Shafiq Khan, Ph.D.
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta

The center will support research in cancer biology, drug discovery and behavioral aspects of prostate cancer and its impact on the African American community by focusing on understanding molecular mechanisms in the development and progression of prostate cancer along with the biological basis of higher incidence and development of more advanced disease at an earlier ages of African American men.

FAMU Center for Health Disparities Research
Karam Soliman, Ph.D.
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Tallahassee

The center will support research projects to address novel therapy in breast cancer, validate innovative drug delivery for lung cancer and investigate new approaches to promoting colorectal cancer screening among minorities.

Health Disparities Research at UCR
David D. Lo, M.D., Ph.D., Bruce G. Link, Ph.D., Gerald A. Maguire, M.D., Juliet McMullin, Ph.D. 
University of California, Riverside

The center will support research projects that focus on testing the correlates of environmental aerosol exposures in Latino neighborhoods in eastern Coachella Valley with asthma and cardiopulmonary disease and the relationship between infant feeding styles and practices in low-income Latino families; and infant growth and obesity.

Howard University Research Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities
William M. Southerland, Ph.D.
Howard University, Washington, D.C.
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The center will support three innovative research projects addressing diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans. These projects will focus on hepatitis C, diabetes, prostate cancer, sleep disturbance, and cardiometabolic consequences in sickle cell disease.

PHSU Specialized Center in Health Disparities
Jose A. Torres-Ruiz, Ph.D. and Richard Noel, Ph.D.
Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico


The center will focus research efforts on cancer biology/oncology, neurosciences, infectious diseases, cardiovascular and hypertension research and human genetics to address minority health and health disparities.

RCMI @ Morgan: Center for Urban Health Disparities Research and Innovation
Hongtao Yu, Ph.D.
Morgan State University, Baltimore

The RCMI @ Morgan will conduct research on urban health and health disparities, studying major health threats in Baltimore such as infectious diseases, addiction research, obesity and cancer, food security, and health informatics with the goal to enhance health for all citizens and to eliminate health disparities. 

SDSU HealthLINK Center for Translational Health Disparities Research
Guadalupe Ayala, Ph.D. and Kristen Wells, Ph.D.
San Diego State University, California
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The center at SDSU, a Hispanic-serving institution, will focus research on minority populations, sexual and gender minorities, and lower-income populations, which are known to suffer disproportionately from numerous adverse health conditions such as higher rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiometabolic disorders, pain, and cancer.

Xavier RCMI Center for Cancer Research
Guangdi Wang, Ph.D. and Gene D’Amour, Ph.D.
Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans
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The center will implement program activities to support early stage, underrepresented investigators, maintain core facilities to support Xavier researchers at all levels of career development, and promote and sustain long-lasting partnerships between Xavier and local communities to address cancer health disparities.

The newly funded grants expand upon the program’s seven grants funded in fiscal year 2017. For more information visit

NIMHD is one of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers. It leads scientific research to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities by conducting and supporting research; planning, reviewing, coordinating, and evaluating all minority health and health disparities research at NIH; promoting and supporting the training of a diverse research workforce; translating and disseminating research information; and fostering collaborations and partnerships. For more information about NIMHD, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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