The Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, a novel partnership, was formed in 2004 and included an academic research institution (SUNY - Downstate Medical Center), a community-based organization (Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health), and a government agency (Office of the Brooklyn Borough President). The partnership was committed to reducing health disparities in Brooklyn and increasing the level of engagement of academics, community members, and policy makers in the process. The Center’s inception was the result of recommendations of the "Milano Report" made to the Brooklyn Borough President in 2003.
BHDC continues to focus its attention upon expanding its reach within Brooklyn/New York communities in the interest of enhancing its role as a resource within the community, within the hospital setting, within the research community, and with elected officials. BHDC’s efforts have resulted in increased partnerships/collaborations, dissemination of information and developing linkages with researchers and community based entities within and outside of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. In addition, the Center successfully engaged with governmental partners who could affect advocacy and policy development. BHDC provides unique opportunities for training and professional development experiences through participation in conferences, participation in grant development and submission, participation in direct mentorship, and community based interventions and research design. Additionally, through their participation in the described activities, young professionals have opportunities to develop research, presentation, teaching, and effective dissemination skills critically important to their professional development.
BHDC and SUNY Downstate successfully secured an NIH endowment award that establishes a new and sustainable Translational Program of Health Disparities Research Training (TRANSPORT). TRANSPORT will provide a foundation and infrastructure for growing and developing a diverse biomedical research workforce that will position Downstate as a national leader in translational disparities and population health research. Our efforts will focus on recruiting and training underrepresented minority (URM) junior faculty, postdoctoral candidates and undergraduate students who come from Brooklyn and other communities that are vulnerable to health disparities.
Fostering equitable community-academic-government collaborations, developing community engaged projects, and increasing the number of successful URM researchers is consistent with the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center's commitment of reducing health disparities and increasing diversity in the health professions. The proposed projects will significantly add to appropriate replicable models for reducing and eliminating health disparities.