University of South Carolina

Arnold School grant total since July 1: $21 million

The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health announced today (Friday, Oct. 22) that it has received nearly $21 million in grants since July 1, including one for $3.25 million that will enhance education and training for the state’s public-health workforce.

The announcement by Dr. Tom Chandler, dean of the Arnold School, was made prior to the celebration of the 35th anniversary of South Carolina’s only school of public health.

“Each award is a testament to the impact that the Arnold School has on the health of South Carolinians and our influence on human health and environmental health in our state and nation,” he said.

“These grants target many of the most pressing health problems facing our society today, including an impending shortage of public-health professionals that will be addressed with this significant grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to establish the S.C. Public Health Training Center,” he said. “This center will enable us to offer professional development and educational programs, in collaboration with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, to address the needs of our public-health workforce.”

By the year 2020, the Association of Schools of Public Health projects the nation will have a shortage of more than 250,000 public-health workers, including public-health physicians, educators, epidemiologists, environmental specialists, administrators and nurses, Chandler said.

Among the grants to Arnold School faculty:

$6.7 million, Health Disparities: This grant to Dr. Saundra Glover from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will support an established research program in minority health disparities. It will fund a Center of Excellence in the Social Promotion of Health Equity Research, Education and Community Engagement (CCE-SPHERE) and will continue the Arnold School’s partnership for education and research with Claflin University.

Two additional grants totaling $349,000 will support minority health disparities in women. Drs. Jihong Liu and Sara Wilcox have received $181,000 from NIH for a study on healthy weight for pregnant African-American women. A grant of $168,000 to Dr. Myriam Torres from the Centers for Disease Control will support HIV/AIDS prevention among Latinas. These awards build on strong research programs throughout the Arnold School for women’s health.

$4.3 million, Cancer Disparities: The National Cancer Institute grant to Dr. James Hébert will continue support for the S.C. Cancer Disparities Network. The award will build upon the network’s many successes in cancer-disparities research, intervention and outreach programs, which are aimed at reducing cancer rates among African Americans in South Carolina.

$3.25 million, S.C. Public Health Workforce: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant to Drs. Greg Hand and Lillian Smith will establish the S.C. Public Health Training Center, which will develop infrastructure for public-health workforce development and ensure equal access to training resources for rural, underserved populations.

$2.9 million, Lung Health: Dr. Erik Svendsen will lead an NIH study on the lung health of millworkers and community members who were affected by the chlorine-gas tragedy in Graniteville in 2005. The research will add to the work that Svendsen and others have been doing in Graniteville since the accident.

$1.4 million, Childhood Obesity: The Arnold School, led by Dr. Russ Pate, will collaborate with researchers throughout the Unites States on an NIH grant to study successful community programs aimed at reducing childhood obesity.

$1 million, Latinos’ Health: A grant of nearly $500,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – matched with funds from community partners in Richland and Lexington counties – will establish the Puentes Project to improve the health of Latinos. Drs. Deborah Billings and Julie Smithwick-Leone will lead the study.

$500,000, Drug-Resistant Infection Control: The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant to Drs. Alan Decho and Brian Benicewicz for a study on how engineered nanoparticles can be used more effectively to deliver antibiotics to cells. The study will target bacterial infections that have become resistant to traditional antibiotic therapies.

$407,000, HIV/AIDS: Drs. Greg Hand and Steve Blair will lead an NIH grant to develop a home-based physical-activity program to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in people living with HIV/AIDS.

Chandler said the awards, which come from the nation’s most prestigious and competitive funding agencies, will target a number of health-disparity issues, which are serious problems in South Carolina.

About the Arnold School of Public Health

Founded with seven faculty members in 1975 as the College of Health and Associated Programs, the Arnold School today has more than 100 faculty and garnered more than $54 million in research funding over the past two years. A record 1,609 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled this fall.

The school was named the Arnold School of Public Health in 2000 when Columbia business leader Norman J. Arnold and his wife Gerry Sue established an endowment with a $10 million gift. The endowment supports more than 20 Ph.D. candidates in six disciplines of public health.

Top Arnold School grants

  • $6.7 million, Health Disparities: To Dr. Saundra Glover from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • $4.3 million, Cancer Disparities: To Dr. James Hébert from National Cancer Institute
  • $3.25 million, S.C. Public Health Workforce: To Drs. Greg Hand and Lillian Smith from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • $2.9 million, Lung Health: To Dr. Erik Svendsen from NIH
  • $1.4 million, Childhood Obesity: To Dr. Russ Pate from NIH
  • $1 million, Latinos’ Health: To Deborah Billings and Julie Smithwick-Leone from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 10/22/10 @ 1:45 PM | Updated: 10/26/10 @ 1:33 PM | Permalink