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  • Achieving Health Equity through Clinical Practice, Research and Policy
  • Leonard Jack Jr. , PhD, MSc (bio) and Kathleen Kennedy, PharmD (bio)

Xavier University College of Pharmacy’s Center for Minority Health & Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) is committed to serving as a leader in translating research and interventions into multidisciplinary approaches that promote healthier communities. The CMHDRE, supported through funds from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), since 2002, has maintained its mission to improve health outcomes of diverse communities disproportionately impacted by health and health care disparities, through community engagement and partnerships in research, education, and practice (see Figure 1). The CMHDRE has implemented targeted programmatic activities through its four cores: administrative, research, training, and community outreach. The administrative core is responsible for providing overall direction and leadership to the CMHDRE. Key activities of the administrative core include overseeing activities across all other cores; implementing the center’s annual health disparities conference; providing support to the CMHDRE’s internal and external advisory boards; and recruiting new faculty members with interests and capacity in developing independent areas of research. The research core is central to creating a culture of research in the College of Pharmacy at Xavier. The research core provides salary support for research faculty; start-up packages for junior faculty members; and promotes an environment conducive to conducting behavioral, clinical and basic research. The CMHDRE’s training core places heavy emphasis on identifying and implementing training opportunities as it relates to such activities as research methods, technical writing, oral presentations, and grantsmanship. Training opportunities are provided to faculty members, residents, and students. In addition, the CMHDRE also provides support for the college’s residency and PharmD/PhD programs. The CMHDRE’s community outreach core focuses on establishing partnerships with local communities that address local health concerns and providing equipment and educational material for community events.

Several results of these activities are depicted in Figure 1, including guidance from the CMHDRE’s external advisory board; increased grant proposals submitted and funded; increased manuscripts submitted to peer-reviewed journals; increased faculty [End Page 1] participation in behavioral, clinical, and basic science research; and increased community input and participation in community-based and clinical research. These programmatic activities and the before-mentioned results help the CMHDRE to achieve one or more of its overarching short-term goals. They are:

  1. 1. Support and create an infrastructure and culture that leads to production of scientific research that is relevant, meaningful, and consistent.

  2. 2. Develop the infrastructure of the CMHDRE to support its mission by establishing a diverse funding base and with the recruitment and retention of health professionals dedicated to the reduction of health disparities.

  3. 3. Advance and sustain meaningful partnerships with diverse communities to address health and health care disparities.

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Figure 1.

Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education logic model.

These three short-term goals are critical to the CMHDRE’s efforts in reducing health disparities and health inequalities in disease burden and deaths experienced among minority populations in New Orleans, throughout the state of Louisiana, and the nation. It is important to point out to readers that the CMHDRE is unique in that it is housed in a College of Pharmacy. The College of Pharmacy has two divisions: Clinical and Administrative Sciences and Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences—both help to create a diverse environment around which to conduct research and develop evidenced-based [End Page 2] clinical practice. Hence, the CMHDRE is greatly strengthened by faculty members from diverse backgrounds and experiences, lending itself to maximizing the role and contribution of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in the elimination of health disparities.

This volume, Achieving Health Equity through Clinical Practice, Research, and Policy, includes 9 manuscripts emerging from oral presentations given at the CMHDRE 5th Health Disparities Conference, Achieving Health Equity through Access, Advocacy, Treatment, and Policy Development, held in New Orleans, March 6–8, 2012. These manuscripts capture important lessons learned from clinical practice and/or basic science research. A brief description of these manuscripts follows.

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