Minority Health and Health Disparities Research in Northern Manhattan

On Sept. 9, NIMHD welcomed Dr. José Luchsinger, director and principal investigator of the Northern Manhattan Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities at Columbia University (NOCEMHD), at the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities meeting to present findings on “Minority Health and Health Disparities Research in Northern Manhattan.”

Formerly the Columbia Center for the Health of Urban Minorities (CHUM), an NIMHD Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Disparities in Health and Training program (Project EXPORT), NOCEMHD was developed by Luchsinger and his colleagues as a multidisciplinary Center of Excellence focused on supporting and conducting innovative research on determinants of minority health and health disparities.

The goals of NOCEMHD are to integrate and centralize ongoing minority health and health disparities research; establish novel effective partnerships with organizations and communities; develop, enhance or strengthen existing research training activities; and establish, enhance or strengthen community engagement/outreach.

In his presentation, Luchsinger highlighted core research projects aimed at generating new knowledge for improving minority health among Latinos of Caribbean descent. He presented insights on a range of studies under NOCEMHD including diabetes, mental health, hypertension, social determinants of health and bioethics.

For example, The Northern Manhattan Caregiver Intervention Project was a 6-month randomized trial comparing the New York University Caregiver Counseling Intervention to a community health worker intervention to relieve stress and depression in Hispanic relative caregivers of people with dementia. This was the first time this research has been done with Hispanic caregivers. Researchers found most caregivers were daughters, most were poor and had a high burden of depressive symptoms, Luchsinger said. Also, there was a strong correlation between social networks and health status.

Research studies build on the community partnerships established by CHUM’s community core and include community-based organizations as integral members of the research such as Alianza Dominicana, Riverstone, ARC, the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, Community Health Network, Community League of the Heights and the Alzheimer’s Association of NYC Chapter.

For more information, go to https://www.nocemhd.cumc.columbia.edu/.