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NIH grants $1.2M to UAA for Center Addressing Health Disparities through Research and Education (CAHDRE)


New center brings health career pathway programs together to create more opportunities for Alaskans

ANCHORAGE, AK - Center Addressing Health Disparities through Research and Education (CAHDRE) is the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Exploratory Center of Excellence that is bringing health pathway programs together to maximize value and catalyze the creation of new programs and research capacity.

The award from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities to Alaska WWAMI Director and Associate Dean Dennis Valenzeno creates the first NIH-funded Center of Excellence on UAA's campus.

Jan Harris, Vice Provost for Health Programs Development, will direct the administrative core of CAHDRE, while Rhonda Johnson, Chair of Health Sciences, will supervise the research and education core.

"CAHDRE is an exciting opportunity to galvanize an excellent suite of health career pathway programs into a cohesive, mutually supportive partnership that can work well with community and academic partners to strengthen the health workforce in the state," said Principal Investigator Valenzeno. "It will also provide increased opportunities for Alaska's next generation of health scientists and health care professionals."

This two-year award provides the Center with funding to support existing programs, and hire new personnel with the goal of establishing a structure and process to accomplish several aims, using a trans-disciplinary approach.
  • Collaborate with others to encourage and support students, especially those from underrepresented populations, into health careers
  • Inform students and faculty about health disparities issues in Alaska
  • Assist health students to develop skills in assessing and using evidence to improve their practice
  • Mentor students and faculty interested in pursuing careers/projects in health disparities research
  • Infuse an orientation toward exploration and inquiry throughout the years from elementary through postsecondary

Commenting on how CAHDRE relates to existing programs, Core Director Rhonda Johnson said, "A unique and innovative feature of the proposed Center is its strong linkage to several existing pipeline programs that encourage and support members of health disparity populations to prepare for high-demand health professions and emerging 'team science' research roles."

CAHDRE is also creating new pathway programs. The Center is partnering with the Anchorage School District as it implements its new Health Career Academy. With Alaska WWAMI and others, it is developing a post baccalaureate program for students aspiring to graduate-level health professional careers.

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