Texas Center for Health Disparities Announces First Group of STAR Fellows

The Texas Center for Health Disparities (Texas EXPORT Center), developed by UNT Health Science Center, recently announced its first group of STAR fellows, which includes faculty members from throughout the United States.

The STAR, stands for Steps Toward Academic Research, fellowship program was developed by researchers at the health science center to help address health disparities.

â??There is a great need to address issues of health disparities,â? said Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, PhD, program director for Texas EXPORT Center and associate dean and professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the health science center. â??We are just beginning in our efforts to provide much needed research opportunities on health disparities by providing faculty members an opportunity to help understand and eliminate health disparities among minority populations.â?

The fellowship, designed for emerging biomedical scientists at minority-serving institutions to learn how to study health disparities, is a mentorship program. Fellows are provided with collaborative training with faculty members from the health science center and other institutions directed toward fostering health disparities research initiatives.

Ten faculty members from around the country were chosen for the inaugural class. Fellows are allowed to keep their current faculty appointments while participating in the year-long fellowship.

Throughout the year, fellows will participate in a variety of educational programs provided by STAR fellowship program faculty in a variety of modes. The fellows began their training with a three-day orientation at the first annual Health Disparities Conference hosted by the health science center June 2-4. Monthly, weekend online or onsite seminars will take place throughout the rest of the year.

Fellows will learn about the epidemiology and biostatistics of health disparity, research design, computer technology, community assessment, human subjects research, compliance with Institutional Review Boards, scientific communications, grant writing, health policy and survey research, and they will participate in a simulated research grant review process.

â??The goal of this fellowship is to increase the number of investigators from the underrepresented minorities involved in health disparity research,â? Dr. Vishwanatha said. â??This is an integral part of our Texas EXPORT Center because it extends our valuable existing partnerships with minority-serving institutions in Texas and surrounding states and provides valuable opportunities to develop collaborative research programs addressing health disparities.â?

The National Institutes of Health awarded the health center a $7.25 million grant in 2005 to establish the Texas Center for Health Disparities, called the Texas EXPORT Center.

The grant, known as Project EXPORTâ??Establishing Exploratory Centers, will be funded for five years, from 2005 to 2010, by NIHâ??s National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

STAR Fellowship Program mentors from the health science center include Dr. Vishwanatha, associate dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Thomas Yorio, PhD, GSBS dean and vice president for research; Robert Kaman, PhD, JD, associate dean and director of the Office of Outreach for GSBS and associate professor of health management and policy; Bruce Dubin, DO, JD, associate dean of academic affairs and medical education for the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine; Adela Gonzalez, PhD, assistant professor of health management and policy and vice president for community affairs and institutional diversity; Michael Smith, PhD, chair and professor of integrative physiology; Roberto Cardarelli, DO, MPH, assistant professor of family medicine; and James Caffrey, PhD, professor of integrative physiology and acting director of the cardiovascular research division.

The STAR fellows include three faculty members from the health science center Jennifer Heffernan, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine; Harlan Jones, PhD, assistant professor of molecular biology and immunology; and Nuha Lackan, PhD, assistant professor of health management and policy.

For information about the Texas Center for Health Disparities, log on to the website www.hsc.unt.edu/HealthDisparities.

2006-2007 STAR Fellows include:

-Bruce Benz, PhD, associate professor of biology at Texas Wesleyan University;
-Sheila Garland, PhD, chair and associate professor of nursing at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff;
-Jennifer Heffernan, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at UNT Health Science Center;
-Gary Hill, DO, assistant professor of internal medicine at Nova Southeastern University;
-Harlan Jones, PhD, assistant professor of molecular biology and immunology at UNT Health Science Center;
-Lorna Kendrick, PhD, RN, director of the BSN program and associate professor of nursing at Tennessee State University;
-Ihenetu Kenneth, assistant professor at Texas A&M University;
-Nuha Lackan, PhD, assistant professor of health management and policy at UNT Health Science Center;
-Florence Okafor, PhD, assistant professor of biology at Alabama A&M University; and
-Pamela Robinson, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry at Tuskegee University.

###

Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

Recent News

Screenshot 2024 06 20 At 3.45.01 pm
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

From sacrifice to success: a journey through physical therapy school

Ancelmo Mojarro came to Fort Worth to study. The Tyler native knew he wanted to be a physical therapist early on his undergraduate days. He embarked on his path to physical therapy a decade ago, inspired by a friend's suggestion amidst his quest to find his calling in the medical field. “I starte...
Garciarosanski
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

HSC pro bono physical therapy program offers hope

For 70-year-old Beverly Rozanski, the journey to improved health has been long and challenging. Raised in Michigan, Rozanski spent her childhood and early adult years struggling with physical challenges that made even the simplest tasks seem insurmountable. However, her discovery of a pro bono p...
Mills John
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

Team of HSC experts develops national position statement for NCCHC on care for aging patients in correctional facilities

Addressing an overlooked and sometimes neglected patient population, a group of experts from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth partnered with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to write a “Care for Aging Patients in the Correctional Setting” posit...
Jennifer Fix 2 Purple
  • Education
|Jun 18, 2024

Pharmacy technician shortage driving force behind new, online prep course

A self-paced, online Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course is now being offered through The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a way to help combat the shortage of pharmacy technicians at hospitals, health systems and retail pharmacies. Recognized by the Pharmacy Tech...