The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded $16.3 million to Norther Carolina Central University for a new Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI). The research funding is the largest annual grant amount received for a non-Title III grant by NCCU and the largest funding for a single principal investigator on the campus.
RCMI will focus on elevating the university's health disparities research program, and funding will support various research projects across the campus, according to HBCU Buzz. NCCU is one of seven minority-serving higher education institutions that received this award. Funding and future research activities will be led by Dr. Deepak Kumar, director of the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute and principal investigator for the grant.
“This major research grant will allow North Carolina Central University to engage in transformative research that examines health disparities and identifies real-world solutions that strengthen health care for minority populations throughout our state,” said University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings. “Moreover, the establishment of the new Research Center in Minority Institutions supports our shared goal of enhancing research opportunities, which will ultimately improve the quality of life of our citizens and generate economic growth."
The mission of the university's new RCMI is to advance and strengthen the research infrastructure at NCCU for conducting health disparities research and to foster and prepare the next generation of minority biomedical researchers. The three main objectives for the new center are to enhance the research capacity at NCCU within the areas of basic, behavioral and translational biomedical research, diversify the biomedical research workforce and to prepare researchers who are successful, funded health disparities investigators and promote a collaborative environment for interdisciplinary research.
“Institutions with historical commitment to diversity are essential to supporting scientific research and providing healthcare to underserved communities," said NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable in a press release. "These institutions are uniquely positioned to engage minority populations in research, and in the translation of research advances into culturally competent, measurable and sustained improvements in health outcomes.”