HBCUs Are Leading The Way In Minority Health Care Research

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January 10, 2014 ‐ By Ann Brown
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In fact, several public and private HBCUs are state and national leaders in the production of African-American physicians, nurse practitioners and public health professionals, reports Huffington Post. They generate timely research on factors and conditions which cause illnesses disproportionately affecting African-Americans.

Last year, the National Science Foundation classified Howard University as the top producer of African Americans who go on to earn doctorates in science and engineering.

It has been exactly 40 years since Howard became the first HBCU to set up a school of allied health. And this year the university will launch the HU Health Sciences Simulation Center, a facility where undergraduate students and post-graduate trainees in its College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences will train and practice in a “virtual” hospital environment with state-of-the-art medical equipment, human patient simulators, and training suites for emergency, surgical and intensive care protocols and services.

Prairie View A&M University in Houston is home to one of the oldest and most renowned historically black colleges of nursing in the country. The registered nursing sector is expected to grow 26 percent within the next 10 years, more than 14 percent faster than all other industries, according to the US Department of Labor and Statistics. Enrollment in the program has averaged more than 600 students over the last four years and it is attracting both men and women.The school enrolled 161 males in 2012 in its programs, which is good for six percent of its total enrollment. And more than 20 percent of its students are non-African-American–12 percent Asian-Pacific Islander enrollment and eight percent Hispanic student population.

Being on the forefront of minority health research, many black colleges have attracted partnerships from federal agencies. Hampton University received a $13.5 million grant from the NIH Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to launch a Men’s Health Initiative last summer. The initiative brings together six HBCUs to study prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, melanoma and violence prevention in black and Hispanic men.

It is a complement to  the university’s Proton Therapy Institute, the largest cancer treatment facility of its kind in the world. There is also the  Hampton Skin of Color Research Institute, which researches skin disorders with disproportionate impact on people of color.

HBCU graduates make up more than 20 percent of the nation’s African-American degree holders so the pipeline for diversity in the allied health fields must include robust offerings from HBCUs which yield high numbers of black graduates with professional competencies on par with any institution in the nation, reports HuffPo.

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