UK to Lead $3.4M NIH Effort to Reduce Disparities in Drug Abuse Research

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The University of Kentucky (UK) has been selected to lead a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative to promote equity in drug abuse research.

Through a $3.4 million NIH grant, UK will establish the Racial Equity Initiative Coordinating Center to provide training to scientists nationwide on best practices for conducting research with underrepresented populations.

The project will be led by Danelle Stevens-Watkins, associate vice president for research, diversity, and inclusion, and will include researchers from UK, Northeastern University, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

The center’s team of experts will offer guidance in four main areas: networking and training, community engagement, data collection and analysis, and communication and dissemination.

As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Racial Equity Initiative, the center will also promote collaboration among NIDA-funded projects and provide shared resources.

“There is lasting generational trauma and mistrust of research due to the ways research entities, for centuries, mishandled studies among marginalized communities and it creates unique challenges when conducting community-engaged research,” said Stevens-Watkins. “[B]uilding relationships between scientists and members of communities and effectively addressing the most pressing needs is of great importance and urgency.”