Date: December 1, 2006
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, Illinois, December 1, 2006 – Governors State University announced today that it has received $5 million to support training in research on health disparities. This project will be a collaboration between the College of Health Professions at Governors State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) awarded the grant as part of its strategy to eliminate health disparities among minority and underserved populations. The grant funds will support a new program at the College titled “Building Capacity in Health Disparities Research,” or “HDR” for short.
“This award is a significant investment by the federal government in both Governors State University and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Linda F. Samson, Dean of the College. “The funding provides the College with the resources to conduct high-level biomedical and related research throughout the Chicago Southland region that will help eliminate health disparities.”
Samson explained that health disparities are cracks in the health care system – cracks that racial and ethnic minorities often fall through, resulting in lower or even substandard levels of care.
Finding these health disparities, and developing strategies to eliminate them, is ultimately the result of conducting effective research.
College of Health Professions faculty will conduct that research under HDR, with the guidance of UIC faculty.
“The University of Illinois at Chicago has a solid reputation as a premier research institution, particularly in the health disciplines,” Samson said. “We’re very fortunate to be able to draw upon their expertise and resources as we build our own research programs.”
Samson added that the College of Health Professions serves communities that have significant minority populations.
Dr. Richard Warnecke will lead the team of UIC researchers who will work with Governors State faculty under HDR. Warnecke is Associate Director of the UIC Cancer Center. He also directs the NIH-funded Center for the Study of Population Health and Health Disparities at UIC.
“This [Health Disparities Research] program is an extension of the research already underway in the south Chicago region,” Warnecke explained.
He added, “This collaboration will stimulate research partnerships between the two educational institutions that will enhance our understanding of the underlying causes of these disparities.”
The College of Health Professions at Governors State shifted its focus from teaching to teaching combined with research four years ago. Since then, the College has been expanding its capacity to conduct health disparities research on a number of fronts in the south suburban communities.
Under a previous NCMHD grant, Project EXPORT, the College worked cooperatively with community organizations to produce award-winning research on health disparities in hospice care for minority elderly, access to care for cerebral palsy patients, childhood obesity prevention in minority neighborhoods, antepartum/postpartum depression in Mexican-American women, and community-based health education for HIV and AIDS in economically marginal African-American communities.