Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha: Putting an end to Health Disparities
By Libby Maness
Jamboor Vishwanatha, PhD, strives to embody the values at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, so it’s not surprising that he made it his mission to put an end to health disparities.
As Vice President of the Institute of Health Disparities at HSC, Dr. Vishwanatha’s road to discovering his interest in health disparities began when he was a junior faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical School. While there, he created an undergraduate research program to increase campus diversity.
“I was working to increase the diversity in the medical school by bringing in minority undergraduate students and giving them real research exposure,” said Dr. Vishwanatha, who is also Regents Professor in the HSC School of Biomedical Sciences.
His hope was that exposing these students to real research would encourage them to attend the medical school. When he came in 2004 to HSC, he brought the program with him, and it quickly led to discovering his passion for ending health disparities.
Today, he continues his work in health disparities through the Institute for Health Disparities at HSC. The institute was founded to ensure that those who choose careers in biomedical sciences and other health professions are trained in a way that reflects the diverse community they serve.
The programs created by the institute range from K-12 education and student training programs to summer research programs and faculty development and training. Each program created by the institute focuses on Dr. Vishwanatha’s desire to engage the community.
“I realized that engaging the community is very important in resolving health disparities and achieving health equality,” he said.
Dr. Vishwanatha explained that many people don’t realize health disparities not only impact those experiencing the disparity, but also the entire community. If nothing is done to resolve health disparities, they ultimately put a financial burden on the health care system and then on the community.
“I truly believe it is my mission to put an end to health disparities, to solve the problem and achieve health equity,” said Dr. Vishwanatha, a 2021 HSC Valubility of the Year award winner.
Other programs Dr. Vishwanatha is involved in include the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Coordinating Center, Texas Community Engagement Alliance against COVID-19, Texas Conference on Health Disparities and the National Research Mentoring Network.