Abell Foundation Awards Grant to African American Neuroscience Research Initiative for Critical Program Support
U.S. Senate Recognizes Longstanding Disparity in Neuroscience Research and Urges Partnerships to Ensure African Americans Are Represented in Neuroscience Research
Baltimore, MD – October 9, 2019 – The African American Neuroscience Research Initiative (AANRI) announced today the receipt of a ($275k) grant from the Abell Foundation, which will provide critical funds to support the development and growth of the collaboration between the African American Clergy Medical Research Initiative and the Lieber Institute for Brain Development. Utilizing the Lieber Institute’s robust brain repository, the AANRI aims to establish a road map to help close the gap in health disparities and accelerate research efforts that will lead to new treatments for brain disorders.
The Abell Foundation grant will enable the AANRI to establish a Scientific Advisory Committee, expand partnership and collaboration efforts, and hold an inaugural national meeting on the topic next year.
Also, last month U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) championed report language through the Senate Appropriations Committee which officially recognizes the longstanding disparity in neuroscience research among underrepresented minority groups, including African Americans. The Committee urges the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to support the increase in neuroscience research among ethnically diverse individuals, including African Americans, and collaboration with external partners to develop the framework needed to advance the discovery of treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders – which is the scientific goal and objective of the AANRI.
Senator Ben Cardin, senior senator for Maryland, said “I’m proud to partner with the AANRI and the Lieber Institute for Brain Development to address this long-standing disparity in neuroscience research. Working together, we can correct this inequity and accelerate the discovery of treatments that benefit ethnic minority groups, including African Americans.”
Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., Principal of the African-American Clergy Medical Research Initiative, said “My clergy colleagues and I have been studying the emerging science behind precision medicine and believe that this technology has potential for finding cures and treatments for diseases that uniquely affect African Americans. This grant brings us one step closer to ensuring ethnic minority groups are not left behind in the precision medicine revolution.” “And the efforts of Senator Cardin if realized will be transformative.”
The AANRI addresses a long-time disparity. While genomic research has the potential to provide some of the most personalized and effective medical treatments for many medical disorders, minority groups are inadequately represented in these large-scale genomic studies. In neuroscience research studies of brain disorders, underrepresented minority groups, including African Americans, make up less than 5% of research cohorts.
“So far, personalized medicine has not really been for everyone,” said Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., Director and CEO of the Lieber Institute. “The Abell Foundation grant provides critical support to enable the AANRI to execute the scientific strategy, with the ultimate goal of developing new treatments for brain disorders for people of African ancestry.”
For more information on the African American Neuroscience Research Initiative, visit aaneuroscience.com or contact Becky Oldham, Director of Communications at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the African American Neuroscience Research Initiative
The African American Neuroscience Research Initiative (AANRI) aims to establish a road map to help close the gap in health disparities and accelerate research efforts that will lead to new treatments for brain disorders. The Initiative is the first of its kind in the nation to address health and neuroscience research disparities.
About the African American Clergy Medical Research Initiative
The African American Clergy Medical Research Initiative (AACMRI) is focused on ensuring that persons of African descent are equitably represented in medical research. It advocates for equity in public policy, funding, education, training, and awareness that produces improvements in protocols, treatments, medicines and health outcomes.
About the Lieber Institute for Brain Development
The mission of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development and the Maltz Research Laboratories is to translate the understanding of basic genetic and molecular mechanisms of developmental brain disorders into clinical advances that change the lives of affected individuals. LIBD is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and a Maryland tax-exempt medical research institute affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
About the Abell Foundation
The Abell Foundation is dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life in Maryland, with a particular focus on Baltimore. The Foundation places a strong emphasis on opening the doors of opportunity to the disenfranchised, believing that no community can thrive if those who live on the margins of it are not included.