Rush Center for Urban Health Equity will focus on disparities in heart and lung disease

Health disparities have persisted or worsened in the past two decades, despite efforts to narrow the gap. In Chicago alone, if the mortality rate for blacks was the same as for whites, 4,000 fewer black people would die each year.

With the goal of changing this situation, Rush University Medical Center has established the Rush Center for Urban Health Equity.

"Continued documentation of avoidable deaths and disabilities from health disparities in observational studies in insufficient," said Lynda H. Powell, PhD, the director of the center and the chairperson of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Rush. "We must find a way to change this situation."

Powell and her colleagues at the center will conduct rigorous behavioral clinical trials and test interventions across the spectrum from children to the elderly. These interventions, if effective, will have an immediate impact on preventing health disparities.

The first three research projects will focus on heart failure, depression, and pediatric asthma with co-morbid obesity.

Community partnerships are at the core of the center's vision and values. Residents will become active participants in the design and conduct of all of the interventions to improve their health.

Unique to the center is the involvement of a specialist in post-traumatic stress, Stevan Hobfoll, PhD, professor and chairperson of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush.

"Major life and traumatic stressors may both indirectly affect physical health through their influence on behaviors, including drug and alcohol use, smoking, sleep disturbances, avoidance of exercise, as well has directly affect health by compromising the immune system or inflammatory responses," said Hobfoll.


More Information at Your Fingertips:
Read the complete news release.
Learn more about the Department of Preventive Medicine at Rush.