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Texas-Michigan project to bolster number of minority nurse scientists

San Antonio (Jan. 15, 2003) — Closing the gap on health disparities and increasing the number of minority nurse scientists is the focus of a new center in the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). The center is a collaborative venture with the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

The Michigan En San Antonio (MESA) Center for Health Disparities is funded by a five-year, $1.16 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research. "Mesa is a Spanish word meaning 'table' in English," said Carrie Jo Braden, Ph.D., MESA director and associate dean for research in the UTHSCSA School of Nursing. "This is a metaphor for 'bringing ideas to the table' for a meaningful exchange between nursing faculty and students in Michigan and Texas. Research collaboration and mentoring will be the foundation of the center."

Dr. Braden said it is important to San Antonio and South Texas that the center will be located on the Health Science Center campus. "With the large Hispanic population in San Antonio and South Texas, the Health Science Center campus is the perfect place for the center," Dr. Braden said. "We will focus on developing young nurse scientists who, in turn, will develop new research that will contribute to removing health disparities experienced by persons in this region."

MESA research subjects will include childhood obesity along the Texas-Mexico border, coronary heart disease in women and risky sexual behavior in minority adolescents.

Other UTHSCSA School of Nursing faculty members involved in the project include the co-director of the MESA pilot/feasibility core, Sharon Lewis, Ph.D., professor of acute nursing care and clinical nurse scientist at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, and the co-director of the MESA research mentoring core, Elizabeth Reifsnider, Ph.D., associate professor of chronic nursing care.

Contact: Will Sansom or Natalie Gutierrez