Mayo Clinic, U of Minnesota get $19.4M for heart disparity research center

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have received a five-year, $19.4 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to create a research center aimed at reducing heart health disparities. 

The Center for Chronic Disease Reduction and Equity Promotion Across Minnesota will work with community partners to support clinical research on community and primary care approaches to diet, physical activity, smoking cessation and other factors related to heart health disparities. Additionally, the program will explore the root causes of health inequities, according to an Oct. 19 news release. 

"We are looking at cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity as chronic diseases that disproportionately affect [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities," Michele Allen, MD, associate professor in the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, told the StarTribune. She said the research center will seek to understand racism as a driver of health disparities and how it contributes to the development and outcomes of chronic diseases. 

While Minnesota ranks as one of the healthiest states in the nation overall, it also has some of the worst health disparities in the U.S., according to the state's health department. 

The death rate for heart disease in the state is nearly 50 percent higher among Native Americans compared to white residents, and heart disease deaths among Black adults aged 35-64 are about two times the rate as white people in the same age range, according to information from the Minnesota health department cited by the StarTribune.  

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