El Centro Director Speaks at NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series

October 10, 2013 — In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NIMHD) welcomed Dr. Nilda Peragallo Montano, Dean of the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS), as featured speaker for the NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series on September 19, 2013.

In her presentation, entitled “Reducing Health Disparities in Hispanic Populations through Culturally Tailored Intervention Science (Full Abstract)”, Dean Peragallo Montano discussed the research that she and her colleagues are conducting at the SONHS’s Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro, which she directs.

“Hispanics bear a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality due to disease, injury, death and disability when compared to whites, and are at increased risk of multiple health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, intimate partner violence, and mental health conditions”, Peragallo Montano said, as she addressed the assembled national health care leaders, scientists, policymakers, and educators at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. These and other factors such as lack of access to preventive care, lack of health insurance, as well as language and cultural barriers, all contribute to decreased quality of life and economic opportunities for Hispanic populations. Dean Peragallo cited the importance of using culturally tailored methods to engage Hispanic research subjects, crediting the use of such methods for El Centro’s accomplishment of having engaged 2,800 Hispanic participants in its research studies since its inception in 2007.

Peragallo Montano emphasized the outstanding benefits of conducting translational science in partnership with community based providers. “Every El Centro study you will hear about today has been conducted not in a lab or at our University, but rather out in the community, at a clinic or local service provider site”, she said to the NIH audience.” She also acknowledged NIH/NIMHD Director Dr. John Ruffin’s crucial support of the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies health disparities’ research initiatives, as well as his national leadership in the fight to eliminate health disparities and his contributions to the health of minority populations.

About El Centro

Originally established in 2007 with an initial $6 million NIH/NIMHD grant, the University of Miami SONHS Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro was renewed in 2012 with an additional NIH grant for another (2012-2017) 5-year cycle. Through research, education, and collaboration with community and academic partners, El Centro advances the science of reducing health disparities in Hispanics, African Americans, sexual minorities and people in Caribbean nations and Latin America.

About NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities coordinates this monthly seminar series, which was launched in July 2009. The seminars are held on the NIH campus and are open to the NIH community, other federal agencies, and the general public. The purpose of the seminar series is to disseminate information on minority health/health disparities research and activities including advances, gaps, current issues, and activities in support of the elimination of health disparities. Presenters include federal officials, extramural grantees and intramural scientists from NIH Institutes and Centers, other federal agencies, as well as national and international experts in health disparities research.

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