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    A GRID for Minority Health

    The National Institutes of Health has awarded Morehouse School of Medicine $13.3 million to build what could be the largest database of minority genetic and health information in the U.S.

    A GRID for Minority Health

    Morehouse School of Medicine is leading the charge to build the largest minority health database in the country. Funded by a $13.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the project is the first of its kind to focus on minority patients, a population that experiences persistent health disparities. A robust database of genetic and other health information could change the game for minority health research, accelerating the pace of discovery for the causes and cures of health inequities.

    “This research project aligns with MSM’s mission and strategic vision – to use the tools of scientific discovery to make a major impact on the health and well-being of the most vulnerable communities in the Southeast,” says Dr. Sandra Harris-Hooker, Interim Dean and Vice President for Research Affairs.

    The Minority Health Genomics and Translational Research Bio-Repository Database (MH-GRID) will fuel research on the factors that keep minorities at the bottom of the health scale in the U.S. Initial research using the database will focus on hypertension in the southeastern “Stroke Belt,” known to have the highest incidence of high blood pressure and stroke among African-Americans. The long-term goal is to use the MH-GRID to develop predictive tools for “personalized medicine,” by which clinicians could identify hypertensive patients most likely to benefit from interventions that prevent related complications like stroke, heart failure or kidney failure. The result would be more effective, individualized treatment that could close the gap in health disparities for minority patients.

    Dr. Gary Gibbons, principal investigator for MH-GRID and director of MSM’s Cardiovascular Research Institute, will lead the effort with an outstanding, multi-disciplinary team of scientists with expertise in health disparities research, genomic science, bioinformatics, epidemiology and minority community outreach. Collaborating institutions include Emory University, Baylor College of Medicine, Jackson-Hinds Clinic and Stanford University.

    “The Minority Health GRID will enable clinicians to establish more effective treatments based on ‘point-of-care’ access to health information that takes into consideration the patient’s biological, social and environmental determinants of health,” says Dr. Gibbons.

    Check out coverage of the GRID in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and GenomeWeb Daily News.

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