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Center On Health Disparities

Welcome To The Center On Health Disparities

As you navigate our site, we hope you gain a better understanding of health disparities and how the initiatives developed by the Center are helping to eliminate inequities in health care. To learn more, you may want to start with the Vision, Mission, and Goals for the Center on Health Disparities. We also encourage you to pay special attention to our primary areas of focus:

  • Research Training Programs
  • Health Disparities Research
  • Community Engagement

We appreciate your interest, and we urge you take an active role alongside us in eliminating health disparities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Center News



"On Being a Black Photographer"
Original video essay on CBS This Morning


Congratulations to Gladys A. Shaw (IMSD Fellow), Molly M. Hyer (IRACDA Fellow), Gretchen N. Neigh et al on the publication of your recent article!


Trio of Grants Expands Pipeline 

A decade of funding from a trio of federal grants has made VCU a leader in finding the talent the biomedical sciences have been missing.


Congratulations to Nana Afia Twumasi-Ankrah, IMSD Undergraduate scholar, for being named a 2020 Goldwater Scholar!


Congratulations to Nancy Sey, IMSD Undergraduate Affiliate, who was awarded a 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. 


Congratulations to Dr. Salma Omer for successfully defending her PhD. Salma is an IMSD alumna who graduated VCU with a bachelor's in Chemistry in 2015. She did her PhD in Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University. 


President Rao's State of the University Address highlights our Center's work to support research education for all scholars and mentions Valentina Posada (IMSD Undergraduate) and Stanley Cheatham (VCU PREP scholar).


Dr. Karen D. Hendricks-Muñoz, Deputy Director of the Center on Health Disparitieshas been named as a mentor in the Inclusive Excellence Mentoring Program. In this role, Dr. Hendricks-Muñoz will meet bi-weekly with undergraduate students to share her perspectives on a broad range of interests. Kudos to Karen D. Hendricks-Muñoz for taking time out of her busy schedule to give back.  

Find out more about the Inclusive Excellence Mentoring Program. 


Congratulations to Madelyn Esquivel who won Best Poster in Cancer Biology (Postbac Category) at ABRCMS this year. Madelyn is a VCU PREP postbac scholar working in the research lab of Dr. Chuck Harrell in the Department of Pathology.


Congratulations to Maya Mason who won Best Poster in Development Biology and Genetics at ABRCMS this year! Maya is a junior Biology Major working in the research lab of Drs. Jill Bettinger and Laura Maithes in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.


Congratulations to Anna Marie Rodriguez who won Best Poster in Neuroscience at ABRCMS this year! Amie is a junior Biology Major working in the research lab of Dr. Gretchen Neigh in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.


Congratulations to Dr. Kasalina Kiwanuka on the successful defence of her Ph.D. Dr. Kiwanuka becomes the 8th IMSD Ph.D. graduate!


Congratulations to our Director of Research Support Services! The VCU School of Medicine awarded Dr. Marcie S. Wright promotion to Associate Professor. Well deserved!


Congratulations to IRACDA Alumna Dr. Rebecca Martin who is highlighted in the September issue of Massey Cancer Center's Research Report e-newsletter.


The Association for Maternal Child Health Providers (AMCHP) moved the One Tiny Reason to Quit (OTRTQ) campaign from the promising practice category to the best practice category in their Innovation Station, an online database of evidence-based practices. 


Congratulations to IMSD undergraduate scholar Gervyn Fajardo-Franco for being recognized in the John Tyler Community College Next Up series "Next Up: Medical School."


Congratulations to Deon Brown, Raven Ross, and Darian White, who won student awards from the Southeastern Psychological Association annual meeting.


VCU 50:  Commemorating History:  
Challenges and Opportunities Symposium.  The presentation was Session 5 - Building a Diverse Community of Scientists:  A Decade of VCU Center on Health Disparities.   

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We have over 75 mentors who have demonstrated excellence in research and training of undergraduate and pre- and postdoctoral students. Click on Dr. Harrel's name below to read about our current Mentor of the Month.    


 Mentor of the month star Dr. Harrell [View Image]


Our Mentees are accomplishing great things. Click on the name Gabi Gentile, Sarah Izabel, or Jonathan Lindsay here or below to experience a “Minute with a Mentee” and hear how our programs have helped each of them on their journey to fulfilling their dreams.


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Sarah Izabel IMSD Undergraduate alumni scholar [View Image]



 Jonathan Lindsay PhD IRACDA fellow [View Image]









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