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National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities awards $8 million to Weill Cornell

NEW YORK (Jan. 22, 2010) -- Weill Cornell Medical College has established a new research center to improve medical care in ethnically diverse and medically underserved communities in New York City.

The Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement (CEDREC) was created through an $8 million grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster was awarded the grant and will serve as the Center's director. She continues as the Nanette Laitman Clinic Scholar in Public Health/Community Health and associate professor of medicine and associate professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is also an internist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Organized as a consortium between five metro-area institutions -- Weill Cornell Medical College, Hunter College School of Nursing, City University of New York, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, and the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at NYU Langone Medical Center -- CEDREC will engage in collaborative research and outreach programs aimed at redressing health disparities in medically underserved and ethnic minority populations in New York.

"We are grateful for this grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and honored to join them in their mission to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities," says Dr. Andrew I. Schafer, chairman of the Department of Medicine and the E. Hugh Luckey Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. "This project is uniquely designed to employ various innovative and creative strategies toward achieving this goal."

CEDREC will initially launch two projects focused on improving the health of medically underserved African-Americans in Central Harlem and the South Bronx, where one in three residents live in poverty and where cardiovascular disease and cancer death rates are among the highest in New York City. In the first, African-Americans with high blood pressure will be equipped with behavioral strategies to help them motivate themselves to better control their blood pressure. The second, led by Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe and Dr. Joseph Ravenell from the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at NYU Langone Medical Center, involves recruiting African-American men with high blood pressure from local barbershops to participate in blood pressure and colon cancer screenings.

A unique feature of the Center is that the community will be active participants in the research process. "A community advisory board will aid in the development of our programs by helping us to identify those who can benefit the most," Dr. Boutin-Foster says. "This approach could serve as a model for future initiatives focused on health disparities and other public health concerns."

"These community projects aim to empower individuals to make and sustain lifestyle changes that improve their health," says CEDREC Co-Director Dr. Mary Charlson, the William T. Foley Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and chief of Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluative Sciences Research at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The Center is composed of four cores: a research core led by Dr. Alvin Mushlin, chairman of the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe of NYU Langone Medical Center; a research training core led by Dr. Mary Charlson; a community engagement and outreach core led by Dr. Erica Phillips-Caesar, assistant professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell, Dr. Walid Michelen (Lincoln) and Dr. Kathleen Nokes (Hunter); and an administrative core, led by Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster.


Contact: Lezlie Greenberg
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

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