UNCG Research

$4.79 million NIH grant to Wallace and the TRIAD Center for Health Disparities Research

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2012 by Sangeetha Shivaji.
ORED Featured

Redacted from an article by Michelle Hines, 336-334-3207, UNCG University Relations

UNCG Research congratulates Dr. Debra C. Wallace on her $4.79 million National Institutes of Health grant. The award, from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, will fund the “TRIAD Center for Health Disparities Research” over four years.

TRIAD stands for “Teamwork in Research and Intervention to Alleviate Disparities.” The Center, which works to develop and enhance research infrastructure and partnerships, addresses major health inequities among African-Americans, Hispanics, and low-income children and adults. Project personnel focus their efforts on central North Carolina.

The new $4.79 million award follows a 2007 grant of $6.6 million to the TRIAD center. The original grant funded health initiatives for underserved groups in the community, with emphasis on HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and related risk factors.

UNCG researchers will use the new grant to continue improving the health of underserved populations in the Triad and beyond. The award will support two new major interventions. The first intervention seeks to prevent risky behaviors among female African-American teens. The second concentrates on diabetes management for Latino adults. African-Americans currently represent approximately 20 percent of the Piedmont-Triad population; Latinos represent approximately 8.5 percent.

Health disparity examples: African Americans in North Carolina suffer disproportionate impacts around cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and HIV (Data from the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities).

UNCG students, nurses, teachers, and others in the community will receive training and assist with Center activities. TRIAD will also partner with local schools to teach kids more about health sciences research and careers. Health fairs and a health science camp for middle and high school students form one component of the plan. A board of community members and health professionals will help oversee the studies.

Almost every school at UNCG will participate in the upcoming TRIAD activities. Faculty collaborators represent the School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Health and Human Sciences, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Given that funding is very tight these days, this grant validates the fact that our faculty and our campus are committed to the community and underserved populations,” Wallace said. “Studies have shown that our community is in great need. This project is one way to help.”

Healthy People, which defines our country’s vision and priorities for improving health, names the elimination of health disparities and the achievement of health equity as a crucial, overarching need. Given the diversity of our populace, there is no greater strategy to improve overall national health.

The TRIAD project provides cutting-edge research to meet this need. Moreover, by integrating education and community engagement into its goals and methods, UNCG’s TRIAD Center does something bigger altogether.