Coordinates all activities and programs in the Center of Excellence.
The primary role of this core is to foster and coordinate
interaction between the Research, Research Education and
Training, and the Community Outreach Core. This core provides
scientific and administrative leadership for the Center of Excellence
by working with leadership at USC and Claflin University,
evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the Center, and
developing strategies for long-term sustainability for the
Center to reduce health disparities.
Integrated Research, Education, and Training Core (IRET)
Provides leadership, infrastructure, oversight, and support to
facilitate and guide the research initiatives between the two
partnering institutions. The Research Core consists of two major
(five year) projects and one pilot study (two years) focusing
on HIV/AIDS, HPV and cervical cancer.
is directed by Dr. Omar Bagasra. The major aim of this project
is to establish a Molecular Virology Laboratory (MVL) [watch the video now | download the video] at Claflin
University. The MVL will make quantitative measurements of HIV
type 1 (the cause of AIDS) and associated viruses (like human
herpes virus type 8) in blood, and measure the levels of various
types of HPV in Pap tests. The MVL will also serve as a training center
for students interested in careers in health sciences
emphasizing viral disease and health disparities.
Project 2 is directed by Dr. Kim Creek, Dr. Lucia
A. Pirisi-Creek, and Dr. Omar Bagasra. This study involves female
college students at the University of South Carolina and Claflin
University. The project examines immunological, environmental,
and other factors related to why some women are able to get rid
of HPV infection other women are not.
Pilot Project 1 is directed by Dr. Gregory A.
Hand. HIV-infected people exhibit a high incidence of oral
disease which is related to a reduction in
oral immunity. The
reduction in oral immunity may be the result of increased stress
and stress hormone levels in the HIV infected individuals.
Several studies indicate that acupuncture (ACU) can reduce
stress and stimulate immune function. The goal of this study is
to determine the efficacy of a standardized stress-reduction ACU
regimen, administered in a group setting, in reducing oral
in HIV-infected African American's in Columbia
and Orangeburg. The results from this study will be implemented
in the communities involved in the Community Partnerships and
In addition, the IRET core implements strategies designed to increase the number of
highly trained minority health professionals involved in health
disparities research, specifically
behavioral. This core recruits and develops minority
students entering careers in public health and health
disparities research; and increases the capacity for public
health and health disparities research at the partner
institutions. This core also will provide mentored training that
will increase the number of minorities conducting research, with
specific emphasis on increasing the number of faculty and
graduate students trained in public health.
Community Partnerships & Outreach Core
Focuses on engaging the Orangeburg County community in
activities that will provide technical assistance for community
leaders which will empower them to address the reduction of
HIV/AIDS and HPV/cervical cancer. This core serves as a resource
for the community by supporting community health efforts,
educational outreach, and funding community programs.