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Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D.

Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D.

Federal Grant Establishes University of Pittsburgh as Center for Excellence in Minority Health Research

PITTSBURGH, January 10, 2001 — The University of Pittsburgh has received a $1.27 million federal grant to study racial and ethnic differences in health status and the use of health services among adults. The grant is one of nine awarded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to address ethnic and racial health disparities. Receipt of this grant establishes the University of Pittsburgh as a Center for Excellence in Minority Health Research.

“We are very excited about this grant, which will jump-start the research program in our Center for Minority Health,” said Edmund Ricci, Ph.D., chair, department of Health Services Administration, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and principal investigator on the project.

“The research funded through the AHRQ grant will yield tremendous benefits in terms of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disabilities that affect minority adult populations in unnecessarily large numbers,” said Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., director of the Center for Minority Health and co-principal investigator. “One of our priorities in this research is to involve the minority community at every stage.”

Comprised of four separate research projects, both clinical and non-clinical, and three administrative cores, the University of Pittsburgh program involves the School of Medicine, the School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Public Health, which houses the Center for Minority Health.

The program will focus on effective communication and cultural sensitivity to gather data and formulate interventions to improve health care in minority populations. Each of the four projects will involve a minority as principal investigator or co-principal investigator, and each core will have a minority director or co-director; researchers will mentor minority health care students, who will be involved in the four projects; community members will be involved at every level, beginning with the development of research questions; community members will review drafts of findings and conclusions and have the chance to offer their own interpretations of the findings.

The projects address four of the six priority areas outlined in Healthy People 2010, the National Institutes of Health’s directive for improving the public health of all Americans by the year 2010. Their titles are “Elimination of Disparities in Adult Immunization Status,” “Patient Provider Communication Regarding Cancer Screening,” “An Intervention/Evaluation Study to Control Lipid Disorders and Hypertension in African-American Males” and “Using Oral Histories to Improve Patient Provider Interactions.”

Three administrative cores will support the four research projects. The scientific technical core will oversee all research methods and quality assurance. The training, education and community partnership core will oversee cultural competence, health communications and coordination of community participation. The contracts management and administrative core will manage the projects, hire staff and administer contracts with consultants and other agencies.

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