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U of M, UAB to host innovative new center dedicated to African American men’s health care and research

A $13.5 million grant will create new center at the University of Minnesota, designed to address health disparities in conditions impacting African American men. The center is a joint academic venture between the University of Minnesota and the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

The grant was awarded by the National Institutes for Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and will fund the center over 5 years. Selwyn Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.S., chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Badrinath Konety, M.D., M.B.A., chairman of the Department of Urology, will lead the project at the University of Minnesota.

“This award and the development of this center underscore the exceptional academic-community partnerships the University of Minnesota has developed,” said Vickers, the principle investigator on the project. “Along with our strong track record for solid infrastructure and a strong partnership with the University of Alabama-Birmingham, this made Minnesota an exceptional choice for this type of research.”

The National Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for African American Men’s Health will be dedicated to developing, implementing and evaluating interventions to improve the health of African American men. The program will target disparities in unintentional and violence-related injuries as well as chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.

“We are ready to work on solving problems, and are thrilled with the academic-community approach this study will take to do so,” said Konety. “These partnerships will be essential in helping us determine the issues to investigate, implement a variety of interventions, and to track successes as we work for a healthier future.”

Several national collaborators have signed on to this project: The National USA Foundation, Inc. (NUFI), 100 Black Men of America, Inc. (The 100) and the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League.

Given that African Americans have played and continue to play such prominent roles within our organization both on the field and within our coaching staff and front office, this is a natural partnership for the Minnesota Vikings,” said Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren. “We are honored to participate in such a great cause, and we know this grant will allow physicians from the University of Minnesota and the University of Alabama, Birmingham, to achieve remarkable outcomes in properly addressing health disparities.

The center will have physical locations on the campuses of both University of Minnesota and University of Alabama-Birmingham, with research and translational interventions taking place in both locations.

The National Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for African American Men’s Health is made possible through NIH grant U54MD008620.

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