• to increase the competitiveness of minority researchers and minority institutions by developing a center that will become a self-sustaining entity through competitive grants and contracts;
  • to promote collaborative research between majority and minority institutions (NHGRI and Howard University scientists will be involved in an exchange between the two campuses to foster cross-fertilization and training);
  • to increase the inclusion of minorities in study populations; and
  • to promote the study of diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans, such as diabetes and hereditary prostate cancer, which will be a focus of the Center.

In a summary of this initiative, NHGRI notes that there is a paucity of standardized, population-based data on the genetic and epidemiologic factors underlying the diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans. To address this need, the help of African-American physicians, research scientists, and institutions is needed to increase the participation of African Americans in research. The Center's initial objectives include the recruitment of African-American families for genomic research; the development of standardized protocols for the collection of genetic, clinical, and epidemiologic data; and the establishment of core facilities for the isolation, characterization, and storage of cells and DNA for study. Specific projects emerging from this collaboration include a study of sibling pairs with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in West Africa, genetic linkage studies of hereditary prostate cancer among African Americans (which has also received research support from NCI), and studies of the ethical, social, and legal aspects of genetic research and testing, such as the informed-consent process and the psychosocial impact of a genetic diagnosis on African-American patients and their families.

The training and education of young African-American scientists is also a major goal of the collaboration with Howard University. With funding from ORMH, several African Americans at the doctorate level have been recruited for these projects, and additional training for pre- and postdoctoral scientists will occur at NHGRI's laboratories in the Division of Intramural Research.

NHGRI proposes that the Center be supported for 5 years, with assistance from ORMH.

Summary and Recommendations

NIH, and particularly NCI, has funded an impressive array of research projects and training initiatives that may have a demonstrable impact in

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