New UW Center for Health Disparities Research

Exciting health equity scholarship developments from UW-Madison Health Sciences!

A new resource – the UW Center for Health Disparities Research (CHDR) – was launched in April under Center Director, Amy Kind, MD, PhD.  Dr. Kind has been a terrific supporter of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity, lending instruction at our Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI) about how customized ranking and mapping of neighborhoods according to socioeconomic disadvantage across the full U.S., including Puerto Rico, enhances health equity scholarship. Dr. Kind trained on clinical and translational science as a Scholar with our UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and lends important leadership on health equity to the Wisconsin Partnership Program as Chair of its Oversight and Advisory Committee.

CHDR seeks to examine how a person’s environment and social conditions impact their health down to the molecular level. CHDR researchers will aim to identify new therapies, precision medicine approaches and other interventions.  An initial major initiative “The Neighborhood Study” will use data from 22 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers throughout the US to examine how social determinants over a person’s lifetime impact their brain health and is funded by a $28.5 million NIH R01 led by PIs Kind and Bendlin. Read the announcement here.

Joining Dr. Kind are Deputy Directors Barbara Bendlin, PhD, Professor at UW SMPH and Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor at UW School of Nursing.  Dr. Bendlin leads a collaborative and interdisciplinary program of research examining factors that increase and decrease risk for dementia in the division of Geriatrics.  She also leads the Research Education Component of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, which aims to train the next generation of scientists. In CHDR, Dr. Bendlin will leverage her years of experience engaging in collaborative team-science based approaches to support studies examining the mechanisms by which environmental and social circumstances culminate in disparate health outcomes.

CCHE is particularly excited to see Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi, Assistant Professor in the UW School of Nursing and HELI 2018 alumna, as the third CHDR Director! Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi leads an interdisciplinary research program that promotes access to effective dementia-specific therapies by improving identification of dementia and enhancing delivery of individualized care to optimize outcomes for patient and caregivers.  She notes:

I am eager to help expand and build upon UW-Madison’s existing commitment to health equity research through establishment of the UW Center for Health Disparities Research. In my role as Deputy Director, I look forward supporting the Center’s efforts to bring diverse disciplines and scientists together from across campus to engage and in translational, mechanistic-driven health disparities research where we can begin to move beyond identification of differences in health status toward elucidation of underlying causes.

Congratulations to the entire CHDR leadership team and thank you for advancing health equity scholarship for the benefit of all!