For Immediate Release
A $1.2 Million Grant from NIH Will Fund an Initiative by Three
To Establish a Center of Excellence in Health Disparities in New
2/23/05—The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1.2 million grant
to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
to develop a Center of Excellence in Health Disparities in New Jersey.
The announcement was made today (Feb. 23) by Congressman Robert
Menendez (D-N.J.) at a news conference hosted by New Jersey City
University, whose faculty is collaborating with UMDNJ and The Cancer
Institute of New Jersey, on the initiative.
Entitled "Addressing Cancer Disparities in New Jersey Communities,"the project will focus on the development of resources and infrastructure
for cancer research, training, community education and outreach
to minority communities. The grant, awarded by the NIH's National
Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, provides funding
for three years to develop the resources and infrastructure required
for consideration by the NIH as a Center of Excellence.
Congressman Menendez said, "This grant is a significant step
in addressing health disparities among minority populations in our
state. New Jersey is the most racially and ethnically diverse state
in the nation and is consistently ranked among the top ten states
in the nation with the highest cancer morbidity and mortality among
Also in attendance at the news conference were U.S. Senator Jon
S. Corzine (D-N.J.) and Steven Rothman (D-N.J.).
Senator Corzine said, "I applaud UMDNJ and NJCU for their hard
work to secure this critical grant to reduce the gross disparities
in cancer detection, treatment, and prevention that minorities in
New Jersey face. New Jerseyans are extremely fortunate to have some
of the best minds and hearts at these two institutions, working
toward improving health care for those who have been underserved
by our health care system. I look forward to not only supporting
their efforts, but also taking an active role in furthering this
Congressman Rothman said, "I'd like to commend UMDNJ and the
Jersey City University for their hard work, their vision, and their
commitment to develop a Center of Excellence for health disparities,
with a focus on cancer, right here in New Jersey. New Jersey consistently
has some of the highest cancer rates in the nation, and I was proud
to help UMDNJ and NJCU obtain this important grant from the National
Institutes of Health to develop the Center of Excellence."
Dr. Diane Brown, executive director of the Institute for the Elimination
of Health Disparities at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, will
lead the effort, which is being called Project EXPORT. "We
are delighted to have been selected for this prestigious award.
"Newark and Jersey City will be the initial focus of the program
because both cities have a large and diverse African American and
Latino populations. As the Center develops, other New Jersey communities
will be included,"Dr. Brown said.
The goals of Project EXPORT are to build research capacity at UMDNJ
and NJCU to conduct health disparities research designed to reduce
cancer rates among minorities in New Jersey and to increase the
participation of African-Americans, Latinos and other health disparity
groups in biomedical and behavioral research as well as prevention
and intervention activities.
Dr. John Grew, chairman of biology at New Jersey City University,
said, "New Jersey City University is an urban institution that
serves a diverse spectrum of individuals, many of whom belong to
groups that experience higher rates of cancer incidence and mortality
than the general population.
"Project EXPORT's goals are closely aligned with NJCU's mission
of service to urban communities. It also affords NJCU the opportunity
to strengthen its partnership with UMDNJ and provides opportunities
for NJCU students and faculty to participate in meaningful outreach
activities and research in the area of cancer disparities."
Dr. Ronald Morton Jr., director of urologic oncology at The Cancer
Institute of New Jersey, said, " The broad long-term goal
of the research undertaken by Project EXPORT is to understand the
underlying causes that result in disparate cancer outcomes and develop
interventions to alleviate them.
"The effort will include cancer epidemiology, behavioral health
sciences and basic sciences as each potentially plays a role in
resolving the dramatic disparity observed for cancer outcomes in
New Jersey,"he said. Dr. Morton, who is also professor of
surgery and chief of the Division of Urology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School, will lead the research core of Project EXPORT.
Marcia Pinkett-Heller, associate professor of health sciences at
New Jersey City University, will direct the community outreach and
information dissemination of the program.
Dr. Brown cited the following statistics to support the critical
need for developing this initiative:
- African-Americans of both genders have a higher mortality
rate from cancer than Caucasians.
- Latinos have a higher incidence of multiple myeloma, and
cancers of the stomach, cervix, liver and gall bladder, compared
to the overall population.
- African-American men in New Jersey are two and one half
Minority populations are less likely than the general population
to access services for early screening, and the resulting later
diagnosis leads to a less treatable stage of cancer.
--February 23, 2005