LSU Health Shreveport one of Eight Institutions in Research Initiative: Pennington Biomedical Research Center to Lead Effort for Underserved Population
A nearly $20 million, five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to support biomedical research was announced yesterday by eight higher academic research, and health care delivery institutions in Louisiana, including LSU Health Shreveport.
The NIH Institutional Development Award Program for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) grant will fund the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center, which will provide an infrastructure across the academic institutions of Louisiana to facilitate research in chronic disease prevention and improve health care in underserved populations. It is bringing health care institutions across LA together for the first time to collaborate on research. The initiative is led by Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Research through LA CaTS will focus on nutrition and chronic disease, health disparities, and expanded clinical trials, all ultimately designed to improve health care. Louisiana ranks among the highest nationally in deaths from chronic diseases, with lifestyle as a major contributing factor. For example, Louisiana has the fourth highest age-adjusted mortality for cardiovascular disease and cancer rates are above the national average. More than half of Louisiana are overweight or obese and four out of 10 residents meet the national criteria for medically underserved.
"This is a 'game changer' for Louisiana as it has created a new working network of medical research partners while putting best practices in medicine and preventative care into action. Importantly, as part of the LA CaTS Center, researchers at each institution will now benefit greatly from access to the collective expertise and resources of all the academic institutions," said Dr. William Cefalu, Principal Investigator of LA CaTS.
"This highly competitive, multi-million dollar grant provides the LA CaTS Center the funding needed to begin its mission in full: to provide prevention, management of diseases and research in the search for the triggers of chronic diseases," said Steven Heymsfield, M.D., Pennington Biomedical's Executive Director.