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Current Research 2

Current Research

Please select a project below to learn more.

  • Obesity Health Disparities Research Center – (U54)
    The UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) was awarded a $7 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to establish the UAB Obesity Health Disparities Research Center (OHDRC). UAB is one of 12 academic institutions in the U.S. to receive funding through the NIMHD’s Centers of Excellence program which fosters collaborative multidisciplinary research in minority health and health disparities. Using the state of Alabama as a model, UAB investigators are studying the complex contributors and interactions among biological, behavioral, and social factors related to obesity; how they vary at critical periods during life; and develop interventions to address these contributors. Continue Reading

    A strategy in eliminating disparities is to develop and train researchers committed to finding solutions that reverse existing trends and develop new knowledge aimed at preventing disparities. Faculty, mid-level faculty or post-doctoral fellows who are new to research or are interested in making a transition to disparities research are encouraged to apply for the Obesity Health Disparities Training Program. This concentrated six-month program is coordinated by the MHRC and runs January - August and includes lectures, mentoring opportunities and a Grant Writing Retreat, usually held each February. Learn more about the Obesity Health Disparities Training Certificate Program or submit an application.

Past Research

Please select a project below to learn more.

  • Birmingham REACH for Better Health (CDC) | Demonstration Project

    Gaps in health outcomes exist between the general population and groups of people who experience systematic obstacles to health based on their race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographic location, or other characteristics linked to exclusion.

    Nowhere are such health gaps more evident than in the South, home to some of America’s poorest communities. These communities lack resources as basic as a clean environment, access to grocery stores, and safe streets. Their residents are exposed to multiple daily stressors and bear the burden of many chronic diseases.

    Strategically located in the heart of the region, the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center provides a critical connection between investigators and vulnerable populations. Our research and training programs enable young scientists to pursue research on health disparities, while our community outreach program identifies urgent health questions and needs and implements evidence-based strategies to reduce health disparities and promote health equity. The highlight of our work is the millions of underserved minority men, women, and children whose lives are impacted through our efforts.

    Milner, A., Baker, E., Sisiopiku, V. (2013). Motivations and barriers to utilizing adult walking buses: An examination of demographic correlates of willingness to participate in a community-based walking program. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3(9,) 517-525.

    Walking buses are a way to increase physical activity by encouraging people to walk rather than rely on motorized forms of transportation. Several communities support walking school buses as an alternative mode of pupil transportation to schools. A possible extension of this concept is the introduction of adult walking buses. Given the novelty of the concept, very little is currently known about the public's perceptions regarding adult walking buses and their potential effectiveness to increase physical activity and decrease obesity among adults. To bridge this gap, this study examined motivations and barriers to participation in an adult walking bus program in Birmingham, Alabama using a comprehensive questionnaire survey.


    • The most significant barrier to willingness to participate in a walking bus program is limited time.
    • The significance of demographic variables (obesity, race/ethnicity, and age) as predictors of willingness to participate is reduced once motivations and barriers are controlled.
    • The positive response to the program among the sample is encouraging and suggests that adult walking buses should be explored further as an active alternative transportation option with a potential to improve health and well-being.

    Visit the REACH Website

  • Mid-South Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research (Mid-South TCC) (U54)

    The Mid-South Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research (Mid-South TCC) is a consortium of academic institutions working together to reduce the burden of chronic disease experienced by minorities in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This region includes many of the country’s most impoverished rural and inner-city communities which carry exceptionally high burdens of obesity, chronic disease and high mortality rates.

    The Mid-South TCC addresses all the social determinants that impact a person’s health, such as economic, cultural and environmental, focusing specifically on the pathways leading people to obesity and chronic illnesses. Research is translated into better health for all with evidence-based health interventions and community partnerships to create healthier lifestyles and eliminate long-standing differences in health outcomes.

    American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Vol. 52, Iss. 1, Supp. 1, Jan. 2017), “Social Determinants of Health: An Approach to Health Disparities Research.” The issue features 12 papers outlining the work of the Mid-South TCC.

    Ethnicity & Disease (Vol. 27, Supp. 1, 2017), “Addressing the Social Determinants of Health through Academic-Community Partnerships.”

    The issue features 10 papers outlining the work of the Mid-South TCC and its community partners. We believe that this publication is one of the first to feature community partners as co-authors of scientific research.

    Visit the Mid-South TCC Website

  • Gulf States Health Policy Center (U54)
    The Gulf States Health Policy Center is a comprehensive community, education, and research center focused on improving health outcomes in the Gulf States region (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas). The Center’s work involves coalition building, health education, and interdisciplinary, community-driven research. It is committed to helping create a healthier and more fit nation.

    Learn More
  • MSM/TU/UAB CCC Partnership (U54)
    "The Partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Tuskegee University (TU), and the O' Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is supported by the NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI). The Partnership, located in the heart of the Southeast, a region with a large, historically underserved African American population, has goals of attaining excellence in research focused on the basis of cancer health disparities and on reducing the cancer burden."

    Continue Reading
  • EMPaCT: Phase II (U24)
    "Twenty years after the 1993 National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act established guidelines for the inclusion of minorities in clinical trials, there still are gaping health disparities in minority enrollment—less than 5 percent of clinical trial patients are non-white and 2 percent of cancer clinical trials focus on non-white racial groups."

    Continue Reading
  • UAB Diabetes Research Center (P60)
    "The Diabetes Research Center (DRC) focuses on developing new methods to treat, prevent, and ultimately cure diabetes and its complications. The DRC is a multidisciplinary operation with faculty researchers from UAB's schools of Health Professions, Medicine, and Public Health, among other units. It operates in collaboration with the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center to promote excellence in diabetes research and patient care."

    Continue Reading
  • Center for Excellence in Health Disparities (P60)—Phase III
    The P60 Center of Excellence – Comprehensive Minority and Health Disparities Research Center (MHDRC) – funded by the NIH/NIMHD since 2002, generates new knowledge on minority health and health disparities in the areas of cancer and cardiovascular disease and their risk factors, including obesity. This goal is being accomplished through a Research Core with two full research projects targeting Hispanic and African American populations. The generated knowledge is translated and disseminated through a Community Engagement Core, which enhances minority participation in research by building community capacity and engaging the community in the development and implementation of research studies. A Research Training Core builds a pipeline of African American scientists through partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Alabama.


The MHRC leverages resources from multiple NIH grants to train health disparities investigators. Funding grants include: