Office of Health Disparities Research

Addressing Health Disparities is Our Priority.

March 13, 2015

Addressing Disparities Related to Race, Ethnicity, Even Zip Code

By Sumedha G. Penheiter

Mayo Clinic's Office of Health Disparities Research (OHDR) provides funding and support for health disparities research to understand and fulfill the unmet needs of patients. OHDR has a two-fold mission: to support and coordinate these efforts across the institution; and to help ensure that participants in Mayo Clinic research studies reflect the diversity of communities.

“As we’re entering the world of individualized medicine, we’re seeing that one size does not fit all in terms of therapy, treatment, even diagnosis,” says OHDR co-director Gloria Petersen, Ph.D. “It’s very clear that there are huge gaps in access to care, survival rates, etc., among certain ethnic groups. We want to identify these issues and figure out ways to make the gaps smaller.”

OHDR and its counterparts – the Clinical Practice Office of Health Equities and Inclusion, and the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine Office for Diversity – are elements of Mayo Clinic’s commitment to diversity.

OHDR co-director David Warner, M.D., says, "Different types of patients are coming through our doors, and as health care providers, we need to be equipped to take care of their needs if we’re not only going to take the best care of them, but also remain competitive and ethically involved to take the very best care we can of every patient.”

OHDR has established a core group of dedicated health disparities scientists and a greater community of over 100 involved investigators. “If we look at our progress over the last five years at Mayo, it’s quite remarkable,” says Dr. Warner. “We have excellent momentum. Many investigators are getting interested in including health disparities as part of their portfolio.”

Hands-on support to researchers

With offices in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, the OHDR:

  • Helps investigators find extramural funding opportunities and meet inclusion requirements
  • Awards $250,000 annually in seed funding for pilot projects
  • Provides assistance in study design, recruitment, study coordination, data collection, and community research and event coordination
  • Facilitates community partnerships for community-based participatory research
  • Helps investigators recruit diverse populations and ensure inclusion of women, children and minorities in clinical research studies
  • Directly facilitates multidisciplinary collaborations
  • Promotes education and provides a community for researchers across Mayo Clinic through meetings, events and communications

Learn more about the OHDR

Tags: David O. Warner M.D., Gloria Petersen Ph.D., health disparities, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine Office for Diversity, News, news

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