Campus: San Diego -- October 12, 2006

SDSU Awarded $9.7 Million Contract for National Hispanic Community Health Study
University is One of Five Centers Funded by National Institutes of Health

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a $9.7 million contract to San Diego State University's Center for Behavioral and Community Health Studies to conduct a six-year study of Latino health.

SDSU is one of four field centers and a coordinating center funded by the NHLBI as part of a new, national Hispanic Community Health Study. Other field centers include Northwestern University; the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.; and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in Bronx, NY. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will serve as the data coordinating center throughout the study. Each field center will focus on a different set of the Latino population, including people living in the United States of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Central/South American descent.

According to the NHLBI, Latinos are experiencing an increase in obesity, a higher risk of diabetes, and changes in social and behavioral factors with large potential impact on many major chronic diseases. Factors that have a particular effect on Latino health include diet changes, activity, health care access, community support and working conditions, especially in relation to immigration from different cultural settings and environments. According to the NHLBI, Latinos are the largest minority population in the country, with a projected three-fold growth by 2050.

SDSU's team of researchers, including Graduate School of Public Health professors Greg Talavera and John Elder, will work with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the San Ysidro Health Center to study approximately 4,000 Mexican- Americans in San Diego County's South Bay region. Talavera and Elder have conducted several other health studies in the San Diego Latino community. They have more than 50 years of combined experience in community-based clinical research.

"This award is a testament to the outstanding research conducted by San Diego State's Graduate School of Public Health," said Marilyn Newhoff, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. "Both Greg and John have vast experience in working with multi-center studies and in the Latino community. They will provide the valuable insight and guidance necessary for the success of this large-scale study."

SDSU's portion of the national study is a collaboration to understand the prevalence of and risk factors for a number of health conditions in the South Bay Latino population, including diabetes, heart disease, and asthma and other lung disorders. As part of the larger national study, the team will explore the influence of psychological and sociological factors on the development and progression of health conditions in Latinos, following participants for up to six years.

"This is one of the largest, longest and most comprehensive multi-site studies of Latino health," Talavera said. "We hope the findings of this research will lead to a number of breakthroughs and insights that will help maintain the health of this population in the coming decades."

SDSU has worked with UCSD and the San Ysidro Health Center in previous health studies.

"San Ysidro Health Center will play a key role in outreaching to, identifying and tracking study participants," Talavera said.

Dr. Michael Criqui, UCSD School of Medicine professor of family and preventive medicine and professor of medicine, will lead the UCSD sub-contract.

"Our faculty will provide clinical and epidemiological expertise, studying the risk factors and causes for a wide range of diseases from heart disease and stroke to asthma and other lung disorders, sleep disorders, and liver and kidney disease," Criqui said.

While the NHLBI will oversee the contract with SDSU, the study's $9.7 million has been provided by several NIH institutes, including the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. All NIH institutes receive funding directly from the federal government and SDSU will not provide any additional funds.

Contact: Lorena Nava, Media Relations Specialist, San Diego State University, (619) 594-3952 office, (619) 309-5179 cell, lnava@mail.sdsu.edu
Debra Kain, UCSD Health Sciences Communications, (619) 543-6163 office, ddkain@ucsd.edu


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