HSC awarded $10 million federal endowment to impact health disparities

Ihd StaffThe University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth was recently awarded the $10 million John Lewis National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Endowment by the National Institutes of Health. This is now the second time the institution has been awarded this endowment to strengthen research into minority health and health disparities.

One of only 12 NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities in the country, HSC’s Texas Center for Health Disparities conducts research into health disparities, trains new investigators in health disparity research and conducts community outreach.

“Our mission is to address health disparities in our communities and promote a more diverse research workforce in health-related fields,” said Dr. Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, vice president of the Institute for Health Disparities and director and principal investigator of the Texas Center for Health Disparities. “The John Lewis NIMHD Research Endowment will provide resources to develop our infrastructure and strengthen our mission.”

The new award will add to the previous $10 million award. HSC was one of just two institutions in the nation awarded the endowment in 2017 — the second-largest gift to HSC at the time.

“The incredible investment the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has made in HSC over the past five years, and again in these next five, further solidifies this institution as a national leader in health disparities research,” said Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams, HSC president. “This important work of health disparity research and promoting health equity makes an impact on a national scale, and it’s work that we will expand, enhance and continue to champion with this generous federal support.”

Three priority areas

During this new project period extending through 2028 and the program in place through 2048, HSC will continue the programs made possible by the original endowment investment, in which three priority areas were emphasized:

  • Training future leaders in health disparity research through the Interdisciplinary Research Leadership program by providing grantsmanship, mentorship and networking opportunities for junior faculty in minority health and health disparities;
  • Hiring and retaining diverse faculty in health disparity research through the Health Education, Awareness and Research in Disparities Scholarship program (called HEARD Scholars) for recruitment and retention of diverse faculty in minority health and health disparities; and
  • To increase the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce and train said workforce through the Texas Minority Health, Education, Research and Outreach, or Texas MiHERO Ph.D. Scholars program, by recruiting a new cohort of Ph.D. students from minority and underrepresented groups each year who focus on health disparities.

“We can prevent, reduce and, ultimately, eliminate health disparities in our communities through research, education, training and community engagement,” said Dr. Brian Gladue, HSC executive vice president for research and innovation. “That’s what these programs established through this federal endowment aim to do, and they’re programs that will endure into the next five years and beyond.”

The permanent endowment is invested by the HSC Foundation, and endowment corpus from the portfolio could grow to upwards of $35 million in support of TCHD’s continued programming, including a number of IRL program participants, HEARD scholars and Ph.D. students.

Learn more about the endowment here: www.nimhd.nih.gov/programs/extramural/research-endowment.html.

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