Washington, DC - The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, has selected the third annual awardees of the William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award. This competitive award program is designed to support one-year innovative research projects contributed by postdoctoral fellows, staff scientists, and staff clinicians within the NIH Intramural Research Program that have the potential for high impact in any area of minority health and health disparities research.

Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau (link is external) indicate that racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States will grow to become half of the nation’s population by 2060. Racial and ethnic minorities and other health disparity populations experience disease at disproportionate rates and have poorer health outcomes. NIMHD has launched a vigorous research agenda aimed at narrowing the nation’s health disparities gap through strengthening research in minority health and health disparities – from understanding etiology to improving methods and developing interventions. The Coleman Award is one approach to eliminating health disparities, which is a priority for NIH.

“The work of these researchers will help us move toward championing our mission of improving minority health and reducing health disparities. These projects hold promise of a better understanding of some of the significant health differences which exist within underrepresented race/ethnic groups,” said Dr. Anna Nápoles, scientific director at NIMHD.

The 2019 William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Awardees are:

Yvonne Baumer, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Project Title: “Elucidating the Impact of Chronic Stress From Social Environment on Endothelial Cell Function and Vascular Biology: A Translational Study to Address Cardiovascular Health Disparities”

Jung Shin Byun, Ph.D.
Project Manager Staff Scientist and Genome Program Administrator
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Project Title: “Single-Cell RNA-Seq to Describe Differences in Immune Cell Profiles Between African American and European American Patients With Triple-Negative Breast Cancer”

Mehdi Farokhnia, M.D., and Monica Faulkner, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellows
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse
Project Title: “Integration of Imaging, Genetics, and Biobehavioral Data to Investigate the Neurobiological Substrates of Racial Disparity Between Black and White Individuals With Alcohol Use Disorder”

Symielle A. Gaston, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Postdoctoral Fellow
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Project Title: “Identification and Characterization of Environmental Factors Contributing to Disparities in Sleep Health and Cardiometabolic Dysfunction”

Deyana Lewis, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Intramural Research Training Award Postdoctoral Fellow
National Human Genome Research Institute
Project Title: “Whole Exome Sequencing of High Risk African American Prostate Cancer Families”

Each award will provide $15,000 to supplement the research projects of the recipients.

Dr. William G. Coleman Jr., the first permanent African-American scientific director of the NIH IRP, was an esteemed scientist who prided himself on mentoring and training future scientists in disparities research among others. This award provides a monetary benefit and mentorship under either NIMHD intramural or NIMHD adjunct intramural investigators. Dr. Coleman passed away in 2014.

Applicants and/or research teams were required to present a three-paged proposal to include background, hypothesis, specific aims, methods, expected outcomes, impact on advancing the science of minority health and health disparities research, detailed budget, and budget justification.

About the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD): NIMHD is one of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers. It leads scientific research to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities by conducting and supporting research; planning, reviewing, coordinating, and evaluating all minority health and health disparities research at NIH; promoting and supporting the training of a diverse research workforce; translating and disseminating research information; and fostering collaborations and partnerships.