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National Center on Minority Health and Health Dispartities

 
House Majority Whip share insights on passage of healthcare reform

James E. Clyburn lecure 2010U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn enjoyed a hero’s welcome at the University of South Carolina Friday as an audience stood for one ovation after another for the Sixth District Congressman’s key role in the passage of healthcare reform.

Clyburn collected the accolades during his speech at the James E. Clyburn Lecture, an annual event that bears his name. The lecture at the nearly full USC Russell House Ballroom also coincided with National Public Health Week April 5-11.

Clyburn said he has described health care reform as “the Civil Rights Act of the 21st Century” because its provisions reach 45 million persons who have been unable to obtain or afford health insurance.

Efforts by attorneys general in several states to repeal the new law are ill-advised, said Clyburn who, as majority whip, corralled the 216 votes to sustain passage of the legislation in the U.S. House.

The last time similar nullification efforts emerged was following passage of the 1965 Civil Rights Act, which withstood the legal tests and remains in force today.

Taking questions from the audience of mostly young people, Clyburn was quick to point out that some health care reforms are theirs right away.

“Now you can stay on your parent’s health care insurance until age 26,” he said to applause, adding that all children with pre-existing medical issues are now covered. The process will be gradual -- like the Civil Rights Act -- but it will eventually lead to universal access to health care, he said.

Clyburn’s listeners were largely faculty, students and staff from USC and predominantly African-American institutions that included Claflin University, South Carolina State University (Clyburn’s Alma Mater), Morris College, Benedict College, Allen University and Lower Richland High School.

The lecture series is joint initiative between Claflin University and the USC Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities led by Dr. Saundra Glover, an associate dean for health disparities and social justice at the Arnold School of Public Health.

In opening remarks, Arnold School Dean Dr. Tom Chandler said health disparities are a main focus of research and teaching efforts. He citied an array of problems -- obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer - that plague mostly African-American residents in South Carolina.

The nation’s new healthcare legislation is a major step in reducing those disparities, and Chandler praised Clyburn for his stalwart lead in the hotly debated proceedings.

“He fought the good fight. He won that battle,” said Chandler.

Glover, whose research interests focus on health disparities and their impact on South Carolinians, said the work will go on throughout the Palmetto State’s communities to eradicate health disparities.

“We are our communities,” Glover said. “Building a healthy, equitable future for our communities is the true test of our time.”

After the lecture, Clyburn met with media and was the honored guest at a reception and scientific poster session featuring health disparities research at the USC and Claflin University.

Arnold School officials say that USC currently has 101 active externally funded projects (research and non-research) related to health disparities, totaling $33.5 million.

Of those efforts, 71 projects totaling $11.2 million were begun in the first 10.5 months of the current fiscal year.

Clyburn did not have time to answer all of the questions from the audience, but a spokesman said the questions and Clyburn’s answers will be posted on the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities website.


House Majority Whip to deliver lecture on health disparities in 21st century

The Arnold School of Public Health will present the third annual James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture at 9 a.m. Friday, April 9.

James E. Clyburn, the U.S. House Majority Whip, will be the featured speaker for the lecture that bears his name. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, Clyburn represents South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District.

“I am honored to be delivering this lecture at an historic time in our nation with regards to health care,” Clyburn said. “Health disparities are always in the forefront of my service in Washington, and I am pleased that, as we celebrate Public Health Week, we have the opportunity to reflect on real positive changes for public health in America.”

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Russell House Ballroom. A reception and scientific poster session featuring health disparities research at the University of South Carolina and Claflin University will follow.

Dr. Tom Chandler, Arnold School dean, said Clyburn’s longstanding commitment to public health needs has been invaluable to the state and nation.

“Jim Clyburn has been a tireless advocate for better access to healthcare and health services. He has been a champion for healthcare legislation, policy, education and research that will improve the lives of children and adults throughout the Palmetto State and the United States,” Chandler said.

“We are honored to have the Congressman on our campus during the nation’s observance of Public Health Week, when we seek to recognize those individuals whose work is critical in our efforts to create healthier communities,” he said.

Clyburn’s visit also comes at a critical time in the nation’s struggle to reform healthcare. Clyburn, a leader in the debate to improve access to healthcare, strengthen Medicare and reduce healthcare costs, has been on the front lines and in the trenches for Americans’ and their healthcare, said Dr. Saundra Glover, director of the Arnold School’s Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Healthcare Disparities.

“Few people have worked as hard as Congressman Clyburn to ensure that our nation’s healthcare system is the best that it can be,” Glover said. “His commitment has never wavered, and all of us are the beneficiaries of his work. Given the historic passage of the healthcare reform bill, this lecture gives South Carolinians the opportunity to learn about the future of healthcare in our nation.”

In addition to serving as House Majority Whip, Clyburn is the leader of the House Democrat’s Faith Working Group.

Prior to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Clyburn was the S.C. Human Affairs Commissioner.

Clyburn is married to the former Emily England. The couple’s commitment to higher education can be seen in their efforts to raise more than $1.5 million for an Archives and History Endowment at S.C. State University, which has named campus facilities in their honor. They have three daughters, Mignon Clyburn, Angela Hannibal and Jennifer Clyburn Reed, two sons-in-law, Cecil Hannibal and Walter Reed; and two grandchildren, Walter A Clyburn Reed and Sydney Alexis Reed.

For more information about the lecture, contact Gwen Preston at the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities at 251-6315.


UNITED IN PRAYER: Conference to kick off observance targeting HIV/AIDS impact
By DIONNE GLEATON, T&D Staff Writer  Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Individuals and congregations across The T&D Region will be poised to increase their role in AIDS prevention, education, service and advocacy with a conference to be held in celebration of the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS.

The National Week of Prayer, set for March 7-13, is the expansion of the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS that marked its 20th anniversary in 2009.

This year, Kingdom Life Ministries, Victory Tabernacle Deliverance Temple and Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, all of Orangeburg, have partnered with South Carolina State University and Claflin University to hold a "Standing Together to Decrease the Spread of HIV/AIDS" conference. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 6, on the fourth floor of Belcher Hall on the S.C. State campus.

The conference is free and includes a continental breakfast and lunch along with four workshop sessions targeting an epidemic that has struck close to home. The state DHEC's Quarterly Surveillance Report, through December 2008, shows that the Edisto Health District, which serves Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties, has the highest rate in the state of people infected with HIV/AIDS.

"This will be our third year of celebrating the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS here in Orangeburg. It's about bringing the communities together to pray for those that have HIV and AIDS and to pray for continued support for those individuals and their families," said Pat Kelly, a member of Victory Tabernacle who is living with AIDS. She is also member of the church's "A Family Affair" support group for those with HIV/AIDS and their families.

"As a person living with AIDS, I believe that this event reaches out and helps with the stigma. If I know people are praying for me or people are coming together to work toward making it better for me, then that releases me from some of the stuff that I've been holding. Hopefully, it will release them from some of the stuff that they've been holding as it surrounds stigma. Stigma plays a great part in people not coming."

Event workshops and presenters include:

-- HIV/AIDS Spiritual and Healthy Lifestyle -- Dr. Daniel Hembree, chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Claflin University;

-- The Epidemic of HIV/AIDS in South Carolina -- Dr. Jacob White, deputy director of the S.C. HIV/AIDS Council;

-- Linkage to Care for HIV/AIDS Patients -- Christal Davis, a Ryan White resource consultant at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control; and

-- S.C. HIV Laws -- Bernard Gilliard, a STD/HIV consultant with the state DHEC.

The Rev. James L. Rowson Jr., pastor of Kingdom Life Ministries, will speak during the opening session.

There will also be free, confidential HIV testing conducted throughout the event. The rapid OraQuick test will be administered, with results available in 20 minutes. Post-test counseling will also be available.

"We're trying to reach the church with this, but it also lets us know that we need to reach all segments of the community, particularly the young generation. That's why we're trying to reach out to different organizations and collaborate with everybody," said Horace Britton, health ministries coordinator at Mount Pisgah.

Karen Clinton, a community liaison with the USC/Claflin EXPORT Center, said it is particularly important to use the church as the springboard from which to spread information.

PDF: Developing sermons on HIV/AIDS

"The church has always been the backbone and forerunner in addressing everything from health disparities to civil rights," she said. "I just think it's important that we express the power of God's love. Through his love, we can educate the community about HIV prevention. That's really the purpose of the National Week of Prayer."

Minority AIDS Council President Shirley James said the event will also hopefully get more individuals involved in the area of education and advocacy.

"We've picked up more persons that are needing to get into care and more families that are interested in getting more involved," James said. "Of course, funding is still a major problem, but the numbers are real and they're striking. The state statistics indicate that the younger population is being affected. We had been looking at people from age 17 to 44; now, we're looking at people from age 15 to 24."

Tessie Haywood is the expanded testing program coordinator in the state DHEC's STD/HIV Division. She is also a member of Kingdom Life Ministries, where she said several outreach goals have been set.

"Our Project F.A.I.T.H goals include partnering with Claflin and S.C. State in educating their students more about HIV and AIDS and changing their behavioral risks," Haywood said. "Our motto at the state office is 'Promote, Protect, Prosper,' and the STD/HIV Division's mission is to provide services to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infection and HIV infection.

"The event on March 6 is an educational event to be able to truly stand together to decrease the spread of HIV and AIDS. That's what we're working for."

The event will also include luncheon speaker Vanessa Vandross, a Greenville resident who has been affected by HIV, and a presentation during the closing session from members of Victory Tabernacle's "A Family Affair" support group. Door prizes will also be given away, along with a gift for the college student and church who brings the most people with them.

Registration, which is recommended but not required, begins at 9 a.m. Registration forms can be mailed by Thursday, March 4, to: Project F.A.I.T.H Kingdom Life Ministries, 1172 Orangeburg Mall Circle, Orangeburg, SC 29115, or Project F.A.I.T.H Victory Tabernacle, 681 Broughton St., Orangeburg, SC 29115.

For more information, including how to obtain registration forms, call Haywood at 803-898-2107, Kelly at 803-747-6046, Pinky Carter at 803-536-7055, Sadie Jarvis at 803-535-5285, Kingdom Life Ministries at 803-534-1980 or Victory Tabernacle at 803-535-6030.

T&D Staff Writer Dionne Gleaton can be reached by e-mail at dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or by telephone at 803-533-5534.

Journal explores cervical cancer, health disparities
Arnold School of Public Health researchers Saundra Glover (center) and Heather Brandt (left), with social worker Tiffany Stewart, discuss the reports in the Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association.

African-American women in South Carolina are 37 percent more likely to have cervical cancer than white women and have a death rate that is about 61 percent higher, according to a study by researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health.

South Carolina ranks 14th in the nation in deaths from cervical cancer.

The study also found that African-American women in rural South Carolina are among the least likely to get recommended screenings, including the Pap test, that are key to the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer.

The findings from the study are reported in the December issue of the Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, which has a series of articles and studies on cervical cancer in South Carolina.

The journal represents one of the first comprehensive statewide reports on cervical cancer incidence and mortality, said Dr. Saundra Glover, an Arnold School researcher and director of the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities.

Eliminating health disparities is complex and involves many factors, including access to screening and follow-up treatment, she said.

“South Carolina has some of the greatest health disparities in the nation,” Glover said. “This report gives us a better understanding not only of cervical cancer incidence and mortality among African-American women, but also shows the critical role that community groups have in working with doctors and other healthcare professionals and leaders to ensure that women receive screenings and follow-up care.”

The report is timely, given the recent controversy surrounding a report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that called for less frequent cervical cancer screening, Glover said.

Arnold School researcher Dr. Heather Brandt said that, although cervical cancer deaths nationwide have dropped 75 percent since the Pap test was introduced for screening, not all women have benefited equally from advancements in screening.

“Women of color, women living in rural areas and women living in poverty continue to develop cervical cancer and die at much higher rates,” she said. “The reports in this journal highlight the challenges that we continue to face in addressing cervical cancer in the United States and around the world.”

A critical need in meeting these challenges is having community partners work with women in cities and rural areas around the Palmetto State.

Social worker Tiffany Stewart, a community liaison, said, “When community residents, community-based organizations and institutions that will be affected are involved in initiating and promoting a call to action, then permanent, successful change is more likely to occur.”

One such effort is the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel through Mind, Body and Spirit) Program, which is focused on increasing cervical cancer awareness among college students.

Among the findings reported in the journal:

  • S.C. women who did not receive a Pap test were more likely to be over age 65, unmarried, have less than a high-school education and be from a non-Hispanic race group, including African Americans. ##BREAK##
  • Nearly one-fourth of women not receiving a Pap test lacked healthcare coverage and nearly 20 percent were unable to see a healthcare provider because of costs.
  • A telephone survey of African-American and white women found that about half of the study’s 1,002 respondents had “high” levels of knowledge about the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection that has been linked to cervical cancer. However, African-American women knew less about the virus than white women.
  • A study of young women, ages 14 – 20, found that about 34 percent would not get the HPV vaccine because of cost.
  • A study on the Upstate Witness Project, which addresses breast cancer and cervical cancer among African-American women, found that training “witnesses” and lay health advisers to be an effective method to reach women. The program was tested in African-American churches in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Pickens counties.
  • A study of Latina women in South Carolina found that very few understood the purpose of the Pap test. Most Latina women sought healthcare for prenatal services.
Glover said the scientific articles, reports on community programs and editorials highlight the challenges of addressing cervical cancer in the Palmetto State.

“This journal is an important step in our efforts. The work reported here by scientists, doctors and community healthcare providers will enable us to enhance our efforts to address cervical cancer in South Carolina and throughout the United States,” she said.

Click here to view the journal.


Center of Excellence in Cancer and HIV Research Fellow Dr. Shalanda Bynum accepts a postdoctoral position at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute

“The training and mentorship that I received as a Center of Excellence in Cancer and HIV Research (COE) Fellow far exceeded my expectations and has better prepared me for a career in cancer health disparities research. As a COE Fellow, I was engaged in a variety of activities that allowed me to grow both academically and professionally. I gained an in-depth understanding of the unequal burden of disease among minorities, the economically disadvantaged, and geographically isolated. This experience continued to lay the foundation for my commitment to address and eliminate health disparities. My most valued experience as a fellow has been interacting with communities and encouraging people to live healthier lives. Effecting change in individuals and communities that bear disproportionate burden of disease is gratifying and an experience that I most value,” said Dr. Shalanda Bynum.

Dr. Bynum has accepted a 2-year postdoctoral position in behavioral oncology at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute starting January 4, 2010. This is an NCI-funded interdisciplinary training program

 

“I believe that my training as a COE Fellow has well equipped me to address complex issues such as health disparities. As I move beyond the role of student and into a postdoctoral position at Moffitt Cancer Center I will be utilizing much of the skills learned as a COE Fellow particularly in community-based participatory research. I thank Dr. Saundra Glover, Dr. Heather Brandt, Andrea Williams, and the remaining COE team for their continued mentorship and commitment to student success.”
designed to prepare fellows for careers as independent investigators engaged in research on behavioral aspects of cancer prevention, detection and control. The training program seeks to train researchers in the identification and promotion of behaviors that can lead to a reduction in cancer risk, earlier detection of cancer, and improvements in quality of life following cancer diagnosis.

As a postdoctoral fellow she will be engaged in community-based participatory research to address cancer health disparities to include cultural and literacy issues in cancer prevention and control. The postdoctoral program combines a specialized curriculum (formal didactic training and one-on-one interactions with experienced mentors) designed to meet the following training objectives: 1 ) acquire a basic understanding of the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer; 2) become familiar with the major studies and findings in the area of behavioral oncology; 3) Gain expertise in methodologies needed to conduct behavioral oncology research; 4) be able to critically review and evaluate research in behavioral oncology; 5) gain an understanding of fundamental issues regarding the ethical conduct of research; 6) be able to formulate a novel research question in behavioral oncology and design a methodologically. To meet the these objectives, Dr. Bynum will be participating in meetings, seminars, journal clubs, grand rounds, and a grant writing seminar; taking additional courses; participating in ongoing research initiatives in health disparities and CBPR.


Program will increase access for students pursuing public health careers
April 22, 2009

The University of South Carolina and Claflin University signed an agreement Tuesday to establish a partnership that will develop a diverse public-health workforce.

The agreement, signed by USC Dr. Harris Pastides and Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, Claflin University president, at the second annual James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture, creates a dual-degree program called the “4 + 1 Program.”

Claflin undergraduates who participate in the program will earn bachelor’s degrees in biology from Claflin and master’s degrees in public health from the Arnold School of Public Health.

Friedman's HPEB class
Dr. Henry Tisdale, Claflin University president, left, and USC President Dr. Harris Pastides prepare to sign an agreement to help develop a diverse public-health workforce.

The 4 + 1 Program was announced at the beginning of the Clyburn lecture, which featured Dr. Adewale Troutman, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Pastides said the partnership is a good fit between the university’s Arnold School and Claflin, an historically black institution in Orangeburg.

“This new five-year, dual-degree program joins the talents and commitment of faculty and researchers at our university and Claflin University to produce the best minds for public-health careers,” said Pastides, former dean of the Arnold School.

The partnership between the two institutions will increase access for students pursuing public-health careers. “All of us will be stronger for it,” Pastides said.

Claflin biology majors will declare their intent to enter the 4 + 1 Program at the end of their sophomore year. They will take the Graduate Record Examination in their junior or senior year and take master’s-level, public-health classes at the Arnold School as seniors. These classes will count toward an MPH degree.

Once they are accepted into the university’s Graduate School, they will enter the MPH program in general public health.

Tisdale said the timing for this program has never been greater.

 “We must have sufficient resources and expertise not only now but in the future,” Tisdale said. “We believe that the 4+1 Program is a tremendous step in that direction.”

The University of South Carolina and Claflin University have strong connections in education, research and outreach. They are partners on a $7.5-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to eliminate health disparities in HIV/AIDS and cancer in the Palmetto State. The grant also funds undergraduate research with scientists at both institutions.

The Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities at the Arnold School includes Claflin as a partner. A $17.3-million grant from NIH, which bolsters biomedical research and expands educational opportunities for undergraduates, connects the University of South Carolina and Claflin with five other colleges and universities around the state.

 “Today is just the beginning of a very successful journey,” Tisdale said.

Visit http://www.sph.sc.edu/health_disparities/ to learn more about the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities and http://www.claflin.edu/ to learn more about Claflin University.


Troutman completed residency and internship at the Medical University of South Carolina
April 10, 2009

Troutman
Dr. Troutman

Dr. Adewale Troutman, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, will deliver the second annual James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture on Tuesday, April 21, at the Arnold School of Public Health.

The program, free and open to the public, will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Public Health Research Center, 921 Assembly St.  A reception will follow.

"Dr. Troutman is one of the nation's leaders in public health," said Dr. Saundra Glover, director of the USC Institute to Eliminate Health Disparities. "He is an advocate for bringing change to improve health, including changing social conditions that often affect a person's ability to change behaviors."

An associate professor at the University of Louisville School of Public Health, Troutman has had a distinguished record of achievement in public health education, research, leadership and advocacy.

In Louisville, Troutman has undertaken new initiatives to improve the health of citizens throughout the area, including the Center for the Elimination of Health Disparities in Louisville, the only such center at a city or county health department in America; the Mayor's Health Hometown Movement, a community effort to encourage Louisville's citizens to be physically active and adopt healthy lifestyles; the Office of Faith and Health to work with the faith community to improve health; and the Office of Emergency and Public Health Preparedness.

Troutman also was instrumental in launching a mobile health unit to extend health services to underserved areas of the community.

Additionally, Troutman received the first annual MediStar Physician of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership to improve accessibility and affordability of healthcare.

Troutman earned his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed a residency and internship in family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

He earned his master's in public health from the Columbia University School of Public Health and a master's in black studies from the State University of New York.

The Arnold School named the lecture series for Clyburn, South Carolina's Sixth District representative, because his services to people in the Palmetto State and his leadership in the U.S. House have been critical in improving public health.


Medical authorities say many cases of cervical cancer can be prevented through screening and vaccination
January 9, 2009

cervical cancer ribbonA statewide campaign targeting cervical cancer kicks off this month with a bilingual billboard campaign to raise public awareness of the disease that strikes some 200 South Carolina women each year.

South Carolina ranks third in new cases of cervical cancer and eighth in deaths due to cervical cancer.  Cervical cancer is a disease for which many cases can be entirely prevented through screening and vaccination.

USC cancer researcher Dr. Heather Brandt is chair of a subcommittee of the S.C. Cancer AIliance that organized the billboard effort in partnership with the USC-Claflin EXPORT Center, South Carolina Cancer Disparities Community Network, and other individuals and groups from across the state.

Brandt said the subcommittee is part of an effort called “Moving to Action: Addressing Cervical Cancer in South Carolina.”

cervical cancer ribbon

The billboards are on display in January as part of national Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Funding for them comes from the American Cancer Society, Palmetto Health, and South Carolina Cancer Alliance.

Some 70 billboards, mainly in urban areas of the state, are up featuring a common “Stop Cervical Cancer” theme and individual messages urging women to “Stop Cervical Cancer in South Carolina” by having regular Pap tests, following up on abnormal Pap test results, and learning more about the HPV vaccine.

Brandt said Arnold School students and a recent graduate also are involved in Cervical Cancer Awareness Month activities on the USC campus.

A recent graduate of the exercise science program is canvassing the campus with HPV materials and posters and a doctoral candidate is helping the Thomson Student Health Center prepare a mass mail out on the HPV vaccine.

The subcommittee members also have prepared cervical cancer information suitable for inclusion in church bulletins and a one-page fact sheet.  Additional printed materials have been prepared in Spanish. 

Brandt said another highlight of the campaign is a special cervical cancer symposium of the Journal of the S.C. Medical Association to be published in October.

The special issue will be similar to the magazine’s August 2007 issue that focused on the soaring cancer rate of all kinds among South Carolina’s African-American population.

Brandt said a special feature on the issue will be a comprehensive listing of information resources on cervical cancer for health care providers and others.


Women's health study focuses on HPV
Article from Gamecock Health / Collaborative Research
Click here to read the article.


Lecture honors longtime leader in battle to improve the health of South Carolinians

A respected leader in the battle against cancer among minorities and the medically underserved will deliver the first James A. Clyburn Lecture at the University of South Carolina on April 25.

Jones

Dr. Lovell A. Jones

Dr. Lovell A. Jones, director of the Center for Research on Minority Health at the University of Texas, will speak at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Arnold School’s Public Health Research Center, 921 Assembly Street. The lecture is open to USC students, faculty, staff and the public.

clyburn

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn D-S.C.

The lecture series honors U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., who has served South Carolina's Sixth Congressional District since 1993. The Sumter native was an active member of the 1960s civil rights movement and was S.C. Human Affairs Commissioner from 1974-1992. He currently is House Majority Whip for the 110th Congress.

Dr. Saunda Glover, Arnold School associate dean for health disparities and social justice, said the lecture series is a "joint initiative between Claflin University and the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities at the University of South Carolina. It will bring together researchers and public health professionals in an interactive forum to discuss ways and means to eliminate the public health disparities that continue to plague South Carolina and the rest of the nation."

Glover, who also is director of the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities, said the continuing series will, in turn, touch on disparities facing South Carolina's minority residents including cancer, stroke, obesity, HIV/AIDS and high blood pressure.

Clyburn, along with Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D-S.C., helped secure funding to establish the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities in 2003.

"His commitment to the elimination of health disparities is long-standing. Hence, the naming of the lecture series in honor of his service to the health needs of the people of South Carolina, the Southeast and the nation," said Glover.

Jones' efforts in combating cancer in minorities complements "an area of research strength of the health sciences at USC and an area where we have made significant efforts to join with community stakeholders to begin to focus on solutions," Glover said.

Jones, whose research center is part of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is the founding co-chair of the Intercultural Cancer Council, the nation's largest multicultural health policy group focused on minorities, the medically underserved and cancer.

He has edited "Minorities & Cancer," one of the few comprehensive textbooks on this subject. He is the founding chair of "Minorities, the Medically Underserved and Cancer," the nation's largest multicultural conference which provides a forum for exchanging the latest scientific and treatment information.

This biennial conference brings together people from all ethnic communities and social strata to share strategies for reducing the incidence of cancer among these populations. Jones also has spearheaded regional hearings on cancer and the poor for the American Cancer Society.

In 2002, Jones, along with Dr. Armin Weinberg, the other cofounder of the Intercultural Cancer Council, received the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Society.

Between 1980 and 2007, Jones received more than $20 million in research funding for studies in which he was the principal investigator.

A question and answer period and a reception in the lobby of the PHRC will follow Jones' address at USC.


USC, Claflin University open new molecular virology laboratory in Orangeburg   Posted 04/16/2007

The University of South Carolina and Claflin University have opened a new molecular virology laboratory created to reduce HIV/AIDS and HPV/cervical cancer rates in the Orangeburg community and elsewhere.

The laboratory is part of Project EXPORT (Excellence in Partnership for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities, and Training), a research, education and public outreach collaboration between the two universities.

EXPORT is five-year effort supported by a $7.5 million grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We envision that this laboratory will be a site where breakthrough research is conducted. This lab will also expose students to new knowledge and allow them to gain skills necessary to conduct advanced scientific research,” said Dr. Saundra Glover, associate dean for health disparities and social justice at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health.

Glover is also principal investigator of the EXPORT project and serves as director of the USC Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities which has established research, training and outreach relationships between USC and the state’s historically black colleges and universities.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 19 at the new lab located at 898 Goff Ave. on the Claflin campus in Orangeburg.

Dr. Omar Bagasra, a Claflin professor and director of the school’s South Carolina Center for Biotechnology, said the laboratory is housed in a former residence that was renovated at a cost of about $200,000. It contains new, state of the art equipment valued at more than $1 million.

Bagasra said the lab will accommodate about ten graduate students and be available to visiting scientists from around the globe. Dr. Samina Hassanali will manage the lab.

Dr. Kim Creek, a professor at the USC School of Medicine who has coordinated cancer research programs between USC and Claflin, said training minority students in cancer research is also a major function of the lab.

Authorities at both universities say training health professionals from minority and underserved populations will advance the cause of reducing, eliminating or preventing health disparities in South Carolina.

Bagasra said that when the EXPORT Project is completed, the lab will be available to provide molecular diagnostic service for research and other uses.

The school also is working with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety to do local forensics research, which will allow evidence to be studied without sending it to Columbia.


Press Release

The University of South Carolina and Claflin University Share
$7.5 Million Grant to Eliminate HIV/AIDS &
Cancer Health Disparities


Claflin University and the University of South Carolina will share a $7.5 million federal grant to eliminate health disparities in HIV/AIDS and Cancer in the Palmetto State. The funding agent, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), promotes minority health and leads, coordinates, supports and assesses the NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. The collaborating institutions, the University of South Carolina (lead institution) will receive 60% ($4.57 million) and Claflin University will receive 40% ($2.93 million). The partnership will strengthen South Carolina's mission to boost the quality and quantity of research that is relevant to the needs of its citizens.

Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University, said, "The USC-Claflin EXPORT partnership will offer an environment for stimulating exchange between Claflin's and USC's faculty and allow students to engage in undergraduate research. And, more importantly, the joint effort will lead to narrowing the gap among those affected by HIV/AIDS and Cancer in South Carolina."

The Community Partnerships and Outreach Core of the USC-Claflin EXPORT partnership will work with community leaders and public health agencies to develop and implement solutions to community health problems identified through the collaboration. The lead community partner is the Minority HIV/AIDS Council of Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun Counties, Inc., an established community-based organization. The Community Advisory Group (CAG) will link the community to USC's and Claflin's resources while assisting investigators in learning about the needs and assets of the community.

USC President Andrew Sorensen said the grant represents the best of partnerships. "South Carolina has many health problems, and solving them is too big for just one institution. That is why I am delighted to be part of this announcement today because it represents the very best of partnerships, including one between two institutions deeply committed to research, outreach and teaching."

The Education and Training Core of the USC-Claflin EXPORT Partnership will address the need to train public health professionals for communities in South Carolina. Students will receive training on the campuses of USC and Claflin. The partnership will provide fellowships and research internships, undergraduate courses in pubic health, a public health research seminar series; and a post-baccalaureate program in public health at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

The Research Core consists of two major (five year) projects and one two-year pilot project. All of the projects focus on HIV/AIDS and cancer (in particular human papillomavirus and cervical cancer). The major aim of this project is to establish a Molecular Virology Laboratory (MVL) at Claflin University. This laboratory will serve as an important resource for all research activities of the Project Export Center.

Another study will involve female college students at USC and Claflin. Most women who test positive for human papillomaviruses (HPV) clear the HPV infection in a few months. Only a few women have persistent HPV infection: these women are at risk of developing the early precursors to cervical cancer and ultimately cervical cancer. This project will study immunological, environmental, and other factors that are related to the ability of a woman to clear or not to clear an HPV infection, with the goal of identifying specific determinants that cause HPV persistence.

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 immunosuppression in HIV-infected African American’s in Columbia and Orangeburg.

Claflin University is a comprehensive institution offering undergraduate degrees in 34 areas and two graduate programs, the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Science in Biotechnology. In its 2006 special edition, U. S. News and World Report on America's Best Colleges ranked Claflin University in the Top Ten for the fifth consecutive year, number one Best Value and in the South for students working toward bachelor's degrees. In the same publication, Claflin was ranked as number one Best Value and finished at the top with an impressive graduation rate.

The EXPORT grant is the second major grant announcement in the past week involving USC and Claflin. USC announced a $17.3 million grant to strengthen biomedical research with six other institutions, including Claflin.