Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities

Center of Excellence 2009

Administrative | Research | Research Training Education | Outreach/Engagement

2009 Administration Core - Lawrence M. Schell (PI)


The specific aims of the Administation Core have not been modified.


In the FIRST year the Administrative Core sought to establish the fiscal and decision making administration of the center.

This involved establishing accounts for each core and each research project (seven budgets in all), and this has been accomplished.  The Core also hired an administrative assistant/project manager  who had extensive experience with personnel and purchasing operations at the university.  This person has provided regular budget reports to all core directors and research project investigators to insure proper fiscal oversight.

To provide leadership and integrate the cores and disseminate information, the Center held two program executive committee meetings involving community partners (core co-directors) and university co-directors. A schedule for subsequent PEC meetings has been made.

Also to facilitate dissemination and exchange of information among cores, community partners and research projects, the Center’s website was updated. To do so, a web master was hired and received additional training in web design and the use of university templates. The web site has been maintained and updated ( ).  However, after four months this person has resigned.  We have engaged another person for this position and expect to have an agreement in hand within the next week. The new webmaster has considerable experience in this activity and a strong track record of accomplishment. We look forward to working together.

We have scheduled our first Program Advisory Meeting for October 30, 2009.  This meeting will contribute to several aims including the provision of leadership and to the annual review of progress and plans. We anticipate that one member of the PAC, Michelle Van Ryn, will resign owing to personal matters, and we expect to find a replacement in the first quarter of the second grant year.

The Center’s liaison with the university administration and local governments is progressing. We have obtained temporary space for the center’s new personnel. Additionally, we have submitted a formal request for additional space on campus to house the Center and give it a locational identity on the main campus that is recognizable to the community partners and the academics.  In the first year, the university’s Vice President for Research resigned. The PI has met with the new Vice President for Research, James Diaz, to inform him of the center’s goals, activities, and role in the university and communities.  The VP has reaffirmed the commitments of the university to the Center.  All funds promised by the university to the Center as per the application now have been transferred to the Center’s accounts.

The Administrative Core has provided budgetary oversight of the cores. This includes mentoring and training of core directors and researchers who were unfamiliar with the procedures used by NIH, and with the financial review procedures in place at the University at Albany.  Directors now have access to information for budgetary review and the knowledge to interpret the reports from the financial office. Core directors receive budgetary updates at each PEC meeting and as often they might request.
The Center’s administrative core personnel participated in the NCMHD sponsored conference (October 1, 2) 2009 Assuring Equity Through Health and Health Care Reform held in New York in collaboration with the other Centers of Excellence located in New York. The conference was held at the New York Academy of Medicine, New York, and involved speakers from the  Centers of Excellence and others of national prominence, as well as workshops of topics relevant to the elimination of minority health disparities.
Earlier research by the center (K. Lahiri) established that health disparity was substantial in the north country of NYS. Encouraged by the university provost and with her support, the center has begun planning to expand the reach of the center by collaborating more formally with other campus’ in the state university system to establish local community health task forces and liaisons with university researchers in a position to collaborate with them on the health disparity problems they have identified. Essentially, this is to take the model developed by our center and apply it to other smaller, campuses in other small towns. With the five year experience of the center, we are in a position to support other nascent efforts on smaller campuses, to link them and connect researcher expertise more broadly with more local communities where health disparity exists.

The activities of the Administrative Core have reasserted the center as an active, essential and valued part of the University, and reaffirmed partnership relations with community based organizations.  The Core has established its oversight and leadership roles vis-à-vis the center’s activities.  These accomplishments are essential for work of the center.

D. PLANS (Specific activities planned by the Administrative Core for Year 2):

1. Manage the Center budget, review allocation of funds, and decide, with the PAC and the PEC, on changes to allocations if needed;
2. Monitor activities of the other cores to ensure goals are being met and reports are filed;
3. Make annual the report to the sponsor;
4. Facilitate interaction and coordination among cores;
5. Serve as a point of contact with the public media, media offices of the sponsor, host institutions and organizations;
6. Hire a new web master and maintain a website for information dissemination;
7. Schedule meetings of the Program Executive Committee every other month, and the PAC at least once in year 2;.
8. To maintain official status as a University at Albany research center;
9. Engage a replacement for Dr. Michelle Van Ryn on the PAC;
10. Develop the center as a hub for similar activities are smaller campuses in the state university system located throughout upstate NY in partnership with local, community  groups concerned with health.


None to date.


2009 Research Core - David Strogatz (PI)

A. SPECIFIC AIMS (unmodified from original)

1. To support the implementation of the proposed research projects
2. To support the development of additional applications for funding of studies that will address health disparities in small cities and towns and that are planned and conducted through collaboration between university-based and community-based partners
3. To provide expertise on statistical issues in designing and conducting studies, analyzing the data and interpreting and presenting the results
4. To increase interactions and exchanges across units of the University at Albany and between university-based and community-based groups to discuss the significance of health disparities and to identify new opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration in research to understand and reduce health disparities


In support of the first specific aim, the Research Core is responsible for convening regular meetings of the Principal Investigators for each project with the Core Co-Directors and the Core Biostatistician. The initial meeting with the project Principal Investigators was held in September 2009 and a bimonthly meeting schedule is being established with the option for monthly meetings if more frequent interaction between projects and with the Core staff is desired. To provide an additional level of more senior oversight and guidance in support of the first specific aim, the Research Core is responsible for biannual meetings of the Core staff and project Principal Investigators with the Research Core Advisory Committee. The membership of the Research Core Advisory Committee is being modified to address Dr. Donald Hernandez’s departure from the University at Albany, and also to respond to a reviewer’s suggestion for the addition of a biological scientist to the Advisory Committee (to join remaining members, Drs. Edward Hannan and Lynn Videka). Dr. James Dias, a faculty member of the university’s Department of Biomedical Sciences with primary research interests in biochemical endocrinology, has been invited to join the Advisory Committee. Dr. Dias is the former chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and is currently serving as the interim Vice President for Research at the university. The first meeting of the newly constituted Advisory Committee will take place in February 2010.

 The other specific aims of the Research Core are to promote the development of additional applications for research on health disparities, to provide statistical expertise in the design and conduct of research on health disparities, and to increase interactions across units of the university and with the community to raise awareness of health disparities and opportunities for collaborative research. These aims are being advanced through multiple activities. The Research Core supported the travel of two junior faculty members to participate as panel members and presenters in conferences on health disparities and on migration and health – through their participation, both faculty members shared information about our Center and opportunities for collaborative projects. The Co-Director of the Research Core, Dr. David Strogatz, has been invited to serve on the Advisory Board of the New York State Health Department’s Community Diabetes Prevention Initiative – in this role, Dr. Strogatz will provide leadership and potential involvement for Center staff and associates in the evaluation of a statewide effort to translate the clinically-based lifestyle intervention from the Diabetes Prevention Project into community settings, with an emphasis on implementation in low socioeconomic status and medically underserved communities (in small cities and towns of upstate New York as well as in New York City).

The Core Biostatistician, Dr. Recai Yucel, has met with project Principal Investigators to identify current needs and future projects of mutual interest. In conjunction with the Research Training/Education Core, Dr. Yucel has established “office hours” to meet with graduate students and junior faculty of the university who have interests in health disparities and questions on statistical issues such as sampling, multivariable methods and imputation strategies for incomplete data. The Research Core will also work with the Community Engagement/Outreach Core and the Research Training/Education Core in developing presentations and colloquia devoted to health disparities for university and community audiences. A particularly relevant and rewarding session to be scheduled in early 2010 will feature the research of two associates of the Center, Drs. Kirsten Davison and Janine Jurkowski, who received small grant support in previous years from the Center and who recently received R24 funding from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to develop a family-centered childhood obesity prevention and early intervention program in a local community.

The existing research projects of the Center and the new opportunities for research continue to focus on conditions that are important contributors to health disparities (e.g. environmental contaminants; access to preventive health care; childhood obesity), have a high priority from the perspective of our community partners, and maintain our Center’s interest in the unique aspects of health disparities in small cities and towns.


During the next year of funding the Research Core will continue its original set of activities in support of the Center’s ongoing projects as well as the Center’s emerging program of new research. These activities include the bimonthly meetings of Core staff and project principal investigators, the biannual meetings with the Advisory Committee of the Research Core, the structured consulting services of the Core Biostatistician, and the collaboration of the Research Core with other Cores of the Center, e.g. on presentations in the community, colloquia on various parts of the campus and the preliminary review (by senior faculty of the Center) of grant applications related to research on health disparities.


There are no publications by the Co-Directors of the Core or the Core Biostatistician that have resulted directly from the Center grant during its first six months of funding.


      Not applicable


2009 Research Training/Education Core - Robert Miller, Jr. (PI)


The specific aims of the Research Training and Edcuation Core (RTEC) have not been modified.


During the Fall 2009 semester, the Specific Aims of the Research Training/Education Core were presented to the administrative units of the Honors College and the EOP.  As a result of the HC administrative meeting, a presentation was offered the students of the Honors College. Twenty-two students of the Honors College attended the presentation.  During the presentation, I described my role of the Core Director, the intention goals of the Research Training/Educational Core, the current research programs that may be soliciting student participation, and presented an opportunity for participation in a community event featuring one of the funded R01 research projects.  A question and answer period followed the presentation and a contact sheet email contact sheet was developed to maintain communication with the interested students.
A presentation describing both the Center and the RTEC was offered to the administrators of the EOP. Given the larger administrative structure of the EOP, meeting the EOP administrative personnel and offering the introductory presentation helped to facilitate strategic relationships, which resulted in the planning process to present the RTEC to the students of the EOP during their required meeting that happens once a semester.  The presentation to the students of EOP will occur on November 5, 2009. 

During the Spring 2010 semester both program will be invited to participate in research learning opportunities. They will specifically be invited to presentations offered by CEMHD researchers engaged in research efforts, as well as opportunity for learning to conduct responsible research.
The RTEC has developed a schedule of statistical consultative support for graduate students and untenured faculty.  Currently, the statistical support and discussion groups are located bi-monthly on the downtown campus of the graduate and professional schools.  As we further our scheduling capacity, we will provide consultation to the entire University community.  This scheduling will begin in November and continue into the next academic semester. 

In a previous iteration of the Center, a Certificate of Health Disparities was developed and approved by the University at Albany and the Chancellor of the SUNY system.  Efforts to market the Certificate program are being developed through various colloquia and discussion groups several students have expressed interest in and plan to make application for admission to the Certificate Program.

Planning efforts are underway with the Assistant Vice President for Research, who is the director of the Office of Regulatory Research Compliance and the Research Compliance Officer to develop a program offering a series of workshops on conducting responsible research for New Research Associates of the Center as well as other members of the University community.  The intention of this effort is support both new Research Associates of the Center and the University Community, especially members of the EOP and HC as they begin their research efforts at the University.  We are scheduling our first presentation before the close of the Fall 2009 academic year. During our first seminar presentation we will provide an overview of the history related to the need for the regulated Human Subjects research as well as the describing how the U Albany Institutional Review Board does their work.   During our second presentation, which will occur in the Spring 2010 semester, a senior representative from the Office of Research Compliance will offer a seminar featuring issues of scientific misconduct.    The material used for the preparation of the seminars will be informed by material prepared by the National Institutes of Health, The University at Albany, Syracuse University, and the Ethics Center of the National Academy of Engineering.


The activities of the RTEC have provided increased visibility to the CEMHD. The efforts of the Core continue to stimulate interest in health disparities and minority health in both the undergraduate and graduate student population. As program planning continues and is implemented, further interest in minority health and health disparities will be cultivated in the university community and untenured faculty.

Specific activities planned by the RTEC for Year 2 are to:
1. Schedule two seminars that provide training in conducting responsible research.
2. Schedule two peer review opportunities to new research associates who are submitting proposals or manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals.
3. Conduct three information seminars for undergraduate students to cultivate interest in minority health and health disparities.
4. Follow up on the application process for the health disparities certificate program and cultivate additional interest among graduate students to pursue the certificate.
5. Continue providing statistical consultative support to the research associates and other interested members of the UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY community.



None to date.


2009 Community Outreach/Engagement Core - Alvarado-Little, WI (PI)

A. Specific Aims

The specific aims of the study are unchanged and are as follows:

1. Aim 1 is to continue the development and dissemination of general and Center-specific health information.
2. Aim 2 is to  encourage and equip the community for participation and partnership in research studies and interventions

3. Aim 3  is to empower the communities with responsibility and ownership of addressing health disparities

B. Progress to date towards Aims

 Outreach Committee members are reaching out to three constituencies to develop a robust network of individuals who provide direct or indirect health related support services to minority communities. Meetings and e-mail groups for this network provide forums to accelerate knowledge of and access to beneficial health information and services.

a) Healthcare Organizations – including providers and organizations providing support services such as information, referral, screenings, and facilitating enrollment in government programs;

b) Community Organizations – organizations that include the health and well-being of their members as part of their mission, but are not expressly formed to address the health issues of members; and

c) Individuals - who are willing to share their experiences accessing the health information and services they need.

1. In an effort to continue to engage the non academic and academic community, the Outreach has identified meeting times following task force groups:
o Amsterdam Minority Health Task Force – Amsterdam area primarily Hispanic community members, support service and healthcare providers;

o Albany Minority Health Task Force - Albany African American and Hispanic community members, support service and healthcare providers

o Provider Consortium - Hospital human resource, training and compliance personnel;

o K-12 Minority Health Task Force – Guidance and Nursing staff from surrounding school districts.

       2. The Outreach Core has also organized the delivery of the following efforts:

o Cultural Event: Healthcare Reform: Engaging the Communities of Color
Presentation of top issues important to immigrant communities and communities of color and health care reform and what it means to these diverse communities.  Guest Speaker: Valda Boyd Ford

o Language Access Resource Project - St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, NY
As a result of information obtained from the needs assessment conducted with the CEMHD Outreach Core Provider Consortium, in an effort to address the linguistic needs of their changing demographics and patient population, a 60 hour interpreter training course was completed with St. Peter’s staff

C. Significance

The Community Engagement/Outreach Core has been an essential component of the Center. It has developed and maintained strong relationships with the populations experiencing health disparities. A relationship of mutual respect and an understanding of cultural and linguistic differences and similarities is important to create an environment of trust and to provide an opportunity for the development and dissemination of resources that will resonate with the communities.
D. Plans

Our plans include the continuation of the following efforts:

  Community Engagement:
o Update and clarify healthcare concerns within African American communities,
o Update and clarify healthcare concerns within Latino communities,
o Clarify community needs for health education information,
o Develop and distribute responsive minority health information resources,
o Support the growth of language access and culturally competent health services.

CEMHD Engagement:
o Ensure target community collaboration with Research Core studies by developing a process for community participation - through Outreach Core groups or more specifically assembled community advisory groups - in the refinement of research design, data collection, data analysis and results proliferation strategies to increase the likelihood of target community acceptance and benefit.

o Partner with the Mentoring, Training and Education Core to encourage faculty to develop research prioritized by minority communities and facilitate career education opportunities for minority students promoting consideration of pursuing health careers.

E. Publications
F. Project-generated Resources