U and Mayo win $ 19.4 million grant to study heart health disparities

The University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic have received a $ 19.4 million federal grant to start a new research center that will focus on racial disparities in heart health.

Minnesota has some of the biggest health disparities between its predominantly white population and communities of color.

Death rate from heart disease is nearly 50% higher among Native Americans than whites in Minnesota, while heart disease deaths among black adults aged 35 to 64 are about twice as high as among whites the same age, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The five-year grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities will be used to support clinical research on community and primary care approaches to diet, physical activity, smoking cessation and other factors of influence. impact on heart health.

In addition, the program will research the root causes of health inequalities, collaborate with community groups and provide assistance to new researchers.

“We view cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity as chronic diseases that disproportionately affect BIPOC communities,” said Dr. Michele Allen, associate professor in the department of family medicine at U Medical School. “We are trying to understand that one of these key drivers is racism on many levels and how it plays into chronic disease development and outcomes.”

The new research center, known as the Center for Chronic Disease Reduction and Equity Promotion Across Minnesota, was one of nine initiatives funded.

The new center will collaborate with the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity, which was established in February with a $ 5 million grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

“We have known for decades that we have these glaring disparities,” said Rachel Hardeman, founding director of the center at the U’s School of Public Health. “The goal is to create something that will last and that will create a legacy of dismantling structural racism.”

Hennepin Healthcare and the Native American Community Clinic in southern Minneapolis are among the organizations that will collaborate with the new research initiative.

“We hope to begin to understand more deeply and richly the structural and historical context of the impact that racism and discriminatory processes have contributed to unequal access and health disparities for people of color,” said Antony Stately, CEO of the clinic.

Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192

Twitter: @GlennHowatt

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