The Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 11, 2002
November 11, 2002
VOL. 32, NO. 11


School of Nursing Establishes Center for Health Disparities Research

By Kate Pipkin
School of Nursing
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, in partnership with the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University School of Nursing, have received a $2.3 million five-year grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to create a Center for Health Disparities Research. The effort is one of eight partnerships funded by NINR that join research-intensive universities with primarily minority universities to study disparities in health care.

Located on the campus of the School of Nursing in East Baltimore, the center will promote culturally sensitive nursing interventions aimed at improving care for underserved populations. The research will focus specifically on the areas of health promotion, symptom management and domestic violence.

The Center for Health Disparities Research will be directed by principal investigator Fannie Gaston-Johansson of Johns Hopkins, right. Von Best Whitaker of NCA&TSU, left, will be co-director.

"In each of these areas we will look at issues surrounding access to care, processes of care and health outcomes," explains the center's director and principal investigator, Fannie Gaston-Johansson, who is director of international affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

The center's co-director, Von Best Whitaker, assistant dean at NCA&TSU, says that in both rural and urban areas across the country communities exist where people do not have access to quality health care. "Through this partnership and the Center for Health Disparities Research, we will help people have a voice about the health care they receive," Whitaker says.

The center will be divided into three major cores. An administrative core, directed by Gaston-Johansson and co-directed by Best Whitaker, will manage the overall activities of the center. A pilot research core to develop culturally sensitive nursing interventions in the selected areas of expertise will be directed by Victoria Mock, associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and co-directed by Monica Ward-Murray, assistant professor at NCA&TSU. A mentoring core to advance research skills for faculty, students and other nursing researchers will be directed by Jacquelyn Campbell, associate dean of research at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and co-directed by Eileen Jackson, assistant professor at NCA&TSU.

Each year the center will accept proposals for pilot research studies that promote culturally sensitive nursing interventions in health promotion, symptom management or domestic violence.

"We are so pleased to receive this very important grant to start a Center for Health Disparities Research," Gaston-Johansson says. "The need to explore disparities in health care is great. Not only will our center increase the number of research projects aimed at eliminating health disparities, it will also expand the number of nurse researchers involved in minority health and health disparities research."

Gaston-Johansson says implementation of the center is particularly appropriate as it comes on the heels of a recent report from the Institute of Medicine indicating that racial and ethnic minorities in the United States receive lower quality health care than whites, even when insurance and income are the same.