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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

National Institute of Health Awards Grant to Improve Research Competitiveness

The National Institute of Health awarded $33 million grant to three states. The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Research Resources announced the almost $33 million dollars for three new Institutional Development Awards (IDeA). The multidisciplinary centers will receive support to reinforce institutional biomedical research and improve research infrastructure.

This will also improve the competitiveness of researchers in states that have not received major NIH research funding. The new centers are being established at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Rhode Island Hospital and University of Kansas Medical Center.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center will study diabetes among the Native American populations. As we know over the past fifty years studies have revealed that Native Americans are at high risk to develop diabetes. There are differences among the different regions part of which is due to diabetes risk factors like physical activity, diet and obesity.

Rhode Island Hospital will research cartilage, repair mechanisms and health of the joints while the University of Kansas Medical Center will study molecular regulation. Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. who is the director of NIH said that to improve the country’s health, it is good to bridge the gap of research funding.

This way too the partnership with the community is strengthened. Multidisciplinary approach is the way to go to lessen health inequality and help prevent disease. This is good as usually only the big centers get the grant. I can't wait to read the report on the results of this grant.

A main investigator with well-known qualifications pertinent to the research topic is assigned to each award. In addition there will be three to five individual projects around the topic. This will be supervised by a junior researcher. This mentoring plan will get the researchers prepared to receive funding.

Barbara M. Alving, M.D., who is the director of the NCRR said there is a need to put down the foundation to partner with the community and utilize the undergraduate level to effect change. This way, homegrown researchers will be produced who will be the future leaders in securing federal funding. That is why this was initiated by The National Institute of Health.

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