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Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity Receives Center of Excellence Designation, $5 Million Grant from NIH

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Aug. 3, 2012 – The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has been designated a Health Disparities Center of Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The prestigious national recognition comes with a $5 million grant from the NIH.

“We are very proud and excited about this designation,” said Bettina Beech, Dr.P.H., professor in the Division of Public Health Sciences and co-director of the Maya Angelou Center. “It is a great honor to be recognized for our efforts.”

The grant, which was awarded through the NIH’s National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, will be used to address disparities in diabetes prevention and treatment among minority populations. It will support two research projects directed by Wake Forest Baptist faculty, one among African Americans with diabetes and the other among Hispanics at risk for diabetes. The grant funding will provide for community outreach efforts, and faculty and student development.

“We know a lot about how lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing diabetes for those who are at high risk, as well as reduce the risk of developing the devastating complications associated with diabetes,” said Ronny Bell, Ph.D., professor of Public Health Sciences and co-director of the Maya Angelou Center. “The challenge is determining how we tailor these opportunities for lifestyle changes for the communities most greatly affected by diabetes.”

The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, created in 2002, strives to understand how ancestry, environment, geography and other factors can create disparities in health and in health care, and to translate scientific discovery into actions that will improve health.

“The Center of Excellence grant fits very well with the mission and vision of our center,” Beech said.

More information is available at www.wakehealth.edu/MACHE.
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