Funding for the Loma Linda University Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine by the National Institutes of Health has been renewed with a grant of more than $5.9 million over the next five years, a university spokesman announced Friday.
The new funds will help support research of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer among minority populations, Larry Kidder of Loma Linda University said.
"It will also facilitate student training programs already in place and enable the center to implement community-based health promotion efforts," Kidder said in a statement.
The funding comes through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Kidder said.
The LLU Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine was founded in 2005 through a grant by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Kidder said.
The center "has developed research training and mentoring programs that have already impacted the lives of several hundred high school, college, graduate, and doctoral students," Kidder said.
"These up-and-coming young researchers are chosen from underrepresented groups and are given the opportunity to engage as interns in the latest biomedical research, while looking at health-related issues that disproportionately affect minorities."
Center and university officials welcomed the renewed funding.
"We are pleased that the NIH has renewed its commitment to support health disparities research at Loma Linda University," Marino De Leon, PhD, primary investigator and director of the center, said in prepared remarks.
"This is a testimony that our peers at the national level and at NIH value the contributions of our center, and are excited by the new initiatives we have proposed for the next five years," De Leon said.
Roger Hadley, MD, dean of the LLU School of Medicine, called the grant an "explicit endorsement."
"This significant NIH award is an explicit endorsement of not only the incredible success of the center but also its vision for the future," Hadley said. "The goals of this Center of Excellence are solidly aligned with our school’s mission, and the award is wonderful news for Loma Linda."
Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of Loma Linda University, also weighed in.
"This center and its continued funding enable Loma Linda University to expand its key commitments to education of young professionals and to serve our community," Hart said. "Developing minority professionals who can work on some of the most critical health challenges today is a necessity for our country, and Loma Linda is pleased to continue this effort."
Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist educational health-sciences institution with more than 4,300 students located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. For more information, visit www.llu.edu.