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HomeNewsArchivesUVI Gets $6 Million Grant to Study Health Disparities for Minorities

UVI Gets $6 Million Grant to Study Health Disparities for Minorities

Oct. 16, 2007 — Building on research-and-development work funded by a $1 million research grant in 2004, the University of the Virgin Islands has received a $6 million grant to establish a health-disparities research center.
The National Institutes of Health's National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) awarded the five-year grant to the UVI Division of Nursing, chaired by Gloria Callwood, Ph.D.
A health disparity is the difference in the occurrence, severity and burden of diseases and differences in life expectancy that exist between ethnic minority population groups and other groups.
Research on why the disparities exist and what measures can be taken to reduce them, specifically in the Virgin Islands, is where that $6 million will be put to use.
"I admire Dr. Callwood because she takes on challenges others would walk away from," said UVI President Laverne Ragster, announcing the grant at a press briefing Tuesday morning. "Her current challenge has brought remarkable and far-reaching results."
The 2004 grant established UVI as a center of excellence in partnerships for community outreach, research on health disparities and training (EXPORT). The funds were used to develop resources and infrastructure needed to expand research in education and health in the Virgin Islands, with the ultimate goal of reducing disparities in the health status of residents in the territory.
"Nothing happens in this territory without a partner and people who help get things done," Ragster said. "It took a year to put this together, and to receive the grant on our first try is an honor."
The UVI nursing faculty partnered with researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Florida and the University of Pittsburgh. Working closely with UVI during the development of the grant was Phyllis W. Sharps, masters program associate professor and director of the school of nursing, Ragster said.
At the awarding of the grant in 2004, Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, said UVI is uniquely positioned because of the large minority population in the territory. The findings here could be used to help other areas of the country, he said.
A broadly smiling Callwood, the principal investigator on the grant, shared her pleasure at its receipt.
"The Division of Nursing Education is very excited that we have been funded to continue building on the work begun with the EXPORT center grant," she said. "The exploratory center will allow us to do important work within our communities to identify and address factors that contribute to poor health outcomes, as compared to the majority population."
Callwood expressed pleasure at the opportunity afforded by the grant: "We have been given a wonderful opportunity to positively impact the health outcomes of our Virgin Island people."
Delegate Donna M. Christensen joined the conference over speaker phone.
"I am proud of UVI," she said. "It's been hard work. Dr. Ruffin was impressed with the work of the UVI students in his grant. The grant is critical — it can open doors."
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, Health, chair of the Hospitals and Human Services committee, asked Callwood what ways the Caribbean would be different from the national population in terms of the research.
"We are a microcosm of the national population," Callwood said. "Our health outcomes are worse. African-Americans have a lower breast-cancer rate than the rest of the population, but a higher death rate. We know we are a mirror to those populations in the states."
The center has yet to be formally staffed and housed. Ragster said the university is currently conducting a national search for a director. Julia A. Hardwick is the center's program coordinator.
The center will have four core components: administrative, research, community outreach and mentoring. Its first project will be a study to identify the prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual intimate-partner abuse (IPA) of women seen for health-care services in the territory, Callwood said. IPA has been shown to be a risk factor for a variety of physical and mental-health problems in several major controlled studies in the U.S.
Battered women, Callwood said, have been found to use health-care services six to eight times more often and non-abused patients, and have incurred significantly greater health-care costs.
The center will collect data on IPA, health conditions and utilization of medical and mental-health care, Callwood said. In addition, it will ascertain Afro-Caribbean, African-American and other V.I. women's preferences for, experience with and concerns about IPA screening and policies.
The five-year $6,025,156 grant has awards provided each year after submittal of a progress report with evidence that any conditions or contingencies are met, Ragster said. The initial year award, which includes indirect costs, is for $1,189,805.
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Oct. 16, 2007 -- Building on research-and-development work funded by a $1 million research grant in 2004, the University of the Virgin Islands has received a $6 million grant to establish a health-disparities research center.
The National Institutes of Health's National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) awarded the five-year grant to the UVI Division of Nursing, chaired by Gloria Callwood, Ph.D.
A health disparity is the difference in the occurrence, severity and burden of diseases and differences in life expectancy that exist between ethnic minority population groups and other groups.
Research on why the disparities exist and what measures can be taken to reduce them, specifically in the Virgin Islands, is where that $6 million will be put to use.
"I admire Dr. Callwood because she takes on challenges others would walk away from," said UVI President Laverne Ragster, announcing the grant at a press briefing Tuesday morning. "Her current challenge has brought remarkable and far-reaching results."
The 2004 grant established UVI as a center of excellence in partnerships for community outreach, research on health disparities and training (EXPORT). The funds were used to develop resources and infrastructure needed to expand research in education and health in the Virgin Islands, with the ultimate goal of reducing disparities in the health status of residents in the territory.
"Nothing happens in this territory without a partner and people who help get things done," Ragster said. "It took a year to put this together, and to receive the grant on our first try is an honor."
The UVI nursing faculty partnered with researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Florida and the University of Pittsburgh. Working closely with UVI during the development of the grant was Phyllis W. Sharps, masters program associate professor and director of the school of nursing, Ragster said.
At the awarding of the grant in 2004, Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, said UVI is uniquely positioned because of the large minority population in the territory. The findings here could be used to help other areas of the country, he said.
A broadly smiling Callwood, the principal investigator on the grant, shared her pleasure at its receipt.
"The Division of Nursing Education is very excited that we have been funded to continue building on the work begun with the EXPORT center grant," she said. "The exploratory center will allow us to do important work within our communities to identify and address factors that contribute to poor health outcomes, as compared to the majority population."
Callwood expressed pleasure at the opportunity afforded by the grant: "We have been given a wonderful opportunity to positively impact the health outcomes of our Virgin Island people."
Delegate Donna M. Christensen joined the conference over speaker phone.
"I am proud of UVI," she said. "It's been hard work. Dr. Ruffin was impressed with the work of the UVI students in his grant. The grant is critical -- it can open doors."
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, Health, chair of the Hospitals and Human Services committee, asked Callwood what ways the Caribbean would be different from the national population in terms of the research.
"We are a microcosm of the national population," Callwood said. "Our health outcomes are worse. African-Americans have a lower breast-cancer rate than the rest of the population, but a higher death rate. We know we are a mirror to those populations in the states."
The center has yet to be formally staffed and housed. Ragster said the university is currently conducting a national search for a director. Julia A. Hardwick is the center's program coordinator.
The center will have four core components: administrative, research, community outreach and mentoring. Its first project will be a study to identify the prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual intimate-partner abuse (IPA) of women seen for health-care services in the territory, Callwood said. IPA has been shown to be a risk factor for a variety of physical and mental-health problems in several major controlled studies in the U.S.
Battered women, Callwood said, have been found to use health-care services six to eight times more often and non-abused patients, and have incurred significantly greater health-care costs.
The center will collect data on IPA, health conditions and utilization of medical and mental-health care, Callwood said. In addition, it will ascertain Afro-Caribbean, African-American and other V.I. women's preferences for, experience with and concerns about IPA screening and policies.
The five-year $6,025,156 grant has awards provided each year after submittal of a progress report with evidence that any conditions or contingencies are met, Ragster said. The initial year award, which includes indirect costs, is for $1,189,805.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.