TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - Tuskegee University will use $8.5 million it's been awarded in a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the reasons why diseases disproportionately affect minority populations.
The grant will also help the university delve into how targeted community education programs could reduce the rates of diseases like cancer, obesity, and HIV in those populations.
"Through this NIH-funded research, we will gain a better understanding of the health differences that exist among various races and sub-populations," said Dr. Clayton Yates, a professor and director of the Center for Biomedical Research. "This in turn will enable physicians in the future to have a better understanding of which therapies will be more effective among minorities, as well as who the most vulnerable and underserved segments of our population are."
Of particular interest to Tuskegee researchers is a focus on prostate cancer. Historically, it affects African-American men at a much higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group in the world with rates two-thirds higher than white men.
African-Americans also have the highest mortality rates and shortest survival rates of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S., so by studying prostate cancer, the team will evaluate the factors that influence the rising rates of the disease among that subset of the population.
During the five-year grant funding period, the team will also expand its focus on other diseases that plague minority populations.?
In addition to its medical focus, the project also will include engaging local communities as partners through town hall meetings that increase awareness of diseases that disproportionately affect African-Americans, as well as how best to mitigate their risk factors.
The research is being funded by the NIH's National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) program.