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National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities Awards $8 Million to Weill Cornell

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Grant Funds Creation of Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement

NEW YORK (Jan. 22, 2010) — Weill Cornell Medical College has established a new research center to improve medical care in ethnically diverse and medically underserved communities in New York City.

The Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement (CEDREC) was created through an $8 million grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster

Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster was awarded the grant and will serve as the Center's director. She continues as the Nanette Laitman Clinic Scholar in Public Health/Community Health and associate professor of medicine and associate professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is also an internist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Organized as a consortium between five metro-area institutions — Weill Cornell Medical College, Hunter College School of Nursing, City University of New York, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, and the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at NYU Langone Medical Center — CEDREC will engage in collaborative research and outreach programs aimed at redressing health disparities in medically underserved and ethnic minority populations in New York.

"We are grateful for this grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and honored to join them in their mission to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities," says Dr. Andrew I. Schafer, chairman of the Department of Medicine and the E. Hugh Luckey Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. "This project is uniquely designed to employ various innovative and creative strategies toward achieving this goal."

CEDREC will initially launch two projects focused on improving the health of medically underserved African-Americans in Central Harlem and the South Bronx, where one in three residents live in poverty and where cardiovascular disease and cancer death rates are among the highest in New York City. In the first, African-Americans with high blood pressure will be equipped with behavioral strategies to help them motivate themselves to better control their blood pressure. The second, led by Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe and Dr. Joseph Ravenell from the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at NYU Langone Medical Center, involves recruiting African-American men with high blood pressure from local barbershops to participate in blood pressure and colon cancer screenings.

A unique feature of the Center is that the community will be active participants in the research process. "A community advisory board will aid in the development of our programs by helping us to identify those who can benefit the most," Dr. Boutin-Foster says. "This approach could serve as a model for future initiatives focused on health disparities and other public health concerns."

"These community projects aim to empower individuals to make and sustain lifestyle changes that improve their health," says CEDREC Co-Director Dr. Mary Charlson, the William T. Foley Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and chief of Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluative Sciences Research at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The Center is composed of four cores: a research core led by Dr. Alvin Mushlin, chairman of the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe of NYU Langone Medical Center; a research training core led by Dr. Mary Charlson; a community engagement and outreach core led by Dr. Erica Phillips-Caesar, assistant professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell, Dr. Walid Michelen (Lincoln) and Dr. Kathleen Nokes (Hunter); and an administrative core, led by Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster.

Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster

Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster graduated from SUNY Downstate Medical College and completed her residency training in internal medicine at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Boutin-Foster then earned a master's degree in clinical epidemiology and health services research at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Dr. Boutin-Foster's research activities focus on identifying the psychological and social determinants of health outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease and on the social epidemiology of health disparities in cardiovascular disease.

Her previous funding includes a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to identify attributes in the doctor-patient relationship that are most associated with health behavior modification in patients with coronary artery disease. She was the recipient of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the role of social support in outcomes of patients with coronary artery disease. She recently completed a study funded by a K01 grant from the NHLBI to evaluate the impact of depressive symptoms, social support, and stress on health behavior modification in Latino patients with coronary artery disease. She is also co-investigator on an NHLBI program project to test the impact of a culturally tailored educational program on medication adherence in African-Americans with hypertension.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in areas such as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, transplantation medicine, infectious disease, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health — and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease and social determinants of health in an effort to unlock the mysteries of the human body in health and sickness. In its commitment to global health and education, the Medical College has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. For more information, visit www.med.cornell.edu.


Lezlie Greenberg
leg2003@med.cornell.edu

Weill Cornell Medicine
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