Einstein College of Medicine receives $10 million grant to study health of Hispanic population

Medical school one of five institutions nationwide, and the only one in New York, selected to conduct largest long-term study of health and disease in Hispanic/Latino populations

October 12, 2006 (Bronx, NY) Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University announced today that it has been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for a landmark and unprecedented large-scale study of the health status of 4,000 people of Hispanic/Latino origin in the Bronx. Einstein is one of only five institutions nationwide to receive grants under this new Federal program, and the only one in New York.

"We are enormously pleased and honored to have been chosen to conduct this landmark study of the health needs of the Hispanic/Latino population," said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein. "The Hispanic Community Health Study is the most comprehensive initiative ever undertaken to assess the health of the Hispanic population in the United States. Our selection for this project is a tribute to the quality of the clinical research conducted by our faculty, as well as a reflection of the excellent and mutually supportive relationships that we have forged over many years with community organizations throughout the Bronx," Dr. Spiegel added.

The goal of the Hispanic Community Health Study is to identify both the prevalence and risk factors for a variety of diseases and disorders among Hispanics in the United States. To be conducted over a 6 1/2-year period, the study will address such health problems as heart disease, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive lung diseases, sleep disorders, dental disease, hearing impairment and tinnitus, diabetes, kidney and liver disease, and cognitive impairment. Risk factors that will be assessed include nutrition, obesity, smoking, blood pressure, social and economic disparity, psychosocial factors, occupation, health care access, medication and supplement use, and environmental context.

"The Hispanic population is now the largest minority population in the US, with a projected three-fold growth by 2050," said Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, the principal investigator of the study and Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health at Einstein. "Hispanic populations are very much understudied with respect to many diseases. Their projected population growth underscores the urgent need for accurate evaluation of their health status and risk so that we can develop more targeted and effective methods of prevention and treatment." Dr. Robert Kaplan, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, will serve as co-principal investigator of the Hispanic Community Health Study at Einstein.

Commenting on this new Federal initiative, Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, Director of the NHLBI, said "Like the landmark Framingham Heart Study which helped us understand the origins of heart disease and its risk factors, and the Jackson Heart Study which is looking at heart disease in African Americans, the Hispanic Community Health Study also promises to make a tremendous contribution to the nation's public health. There are many questions to answer," she added. "Why are Hispanics experiencing increased rates of obesity and diabetes and yet have fewer deaths from heart disease than non-Hispanics? Why is asthma more common in certain Hispanic groups? Only a long-term epidemiological investigation can answer questions like these and apply what is learned to prevent disease."

Einstein has a long and distinguished record of conducting large-scale epidemiological studies. Most recently, the medical school was the only New York City institution selected to participate in the historic multi-year Women's Health Initiative project, and it had an exemplary record of recruiting minority women for that program. Dr. Smoller was also principal investigator of that study.


In addition to Einstein, the nationwide study will also be conducted at San Diego State University, Northwestern University, and the University of Miami. The University of North Carolina was selected to serve as the study's data coordinating center.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. It consistently ranks among the nation's leaders in basic research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Einstein has also earned "Center of Excellence" designation from the NIH in six major biomedical disciplines: brain research, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, AIDS and sickle-cell disease, as well as for its Bronx Center to Reduce and Eliminate Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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