Specific Aims, Goals, and Objectives

In this renewal application, we are proposing to sustain and continue biomedical research that will allow us to investigate the contribution of genetic variation, gene-environment interactions, epigenetics, and infection to the increased risk of preterm birth in African Americans. We will build upon the accomplishments of the existing research and community cores and the unique and collaborative relationships established with the Center’s academic and community partners. We will add a research training and education core that proposes a plan for preparing minority investigators to undertake community based participatory research CBPR, that will continue to engage the community in preparing to serve as a full partner in the development, implementation, and translation/dissemination of research findings and lead to a reduction in health disparities associated with preterm birth in this community. 

This application prioritizes fundamental research in race-specific genetic and infectious causes of preterm birth, and environment-epigenetic associations that influence prematurity. It also emphasizes capacity building to promote community participation in the research endeavor by training investigators in epidemiology, clinical outcomes research, and social and behavioral science methods and analyses; conceptualizing and implementing strategies that are developmentally, culturally and environmentally appropriate in engaging community participation.  


The goal of the CoEHDR application is to bring together the academic and target community and the Virginia Department of Health in a collaborative research partnership to address Preterm Birth. 


The CoEHDR’s objectives are: to foster biomedical research, fundamental and clinical, to develop capacity for community based participatory research, to expand community education and empowerment, and to educate students and health professionals concerning the problems of health disparities, with an emphasis on Preterm Birth.

Specific Aims: 

Specific Aim 1: Expand and strengthen the existing community partnership to include participation in preterm birth related research.  The community outreach core will coordinate institutional community outreach activities with the research and research training cores.

Specific Aim 2:  Conduct inter-disciplinary, fundamental and epidemiological research that will advance our understanding of the incidence of preterm birth that is a significant racial/ethnic health disparity. 

Specific Aim 3:  Provide research training for medical and graduate students, residents, postdoctoral fellows and faculty to enhance their knowledge and skills for conducting community based participatory research. Health services research related to health disparities training will be integrated into the curriculum of students, residents, and faculty including topics on health services research methods and analyses, community participation, and cultural competency.