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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Florida International and Miami Address Health Issues in High-Risk Latino Communities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded nearly $6.9 million to an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Florida International University (FIU) and University of Miami (UM) to launch the Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO).

[Photo: Dr. Mario De La Rosa]

“It’s an honor to combine resources and talent from two major universities to advance health equity for marginalized populations in our surrounding areas,” said Dr. Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of Florida International Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work.

As part of NIH’s National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the CLaRO project will unite and advance the partnership of two existing NIMHD-funded centers: The Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research (El Centro) at UM’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) FIU’s Stempel College. Both are under the direction of longtime collaborators Dr. Victoria Behar Mitrani of UM and Dr. Mario De La Rosa of FIU-Stempel College.

CLaRO’s principal investigators will build on more than a decade of studies addressing substance use problems, psychological trauma, mental health problems and HIV/AIDS among highly vulnerable Latino communities in Miami-Dade County.

“Through our previous work together, we are well-versed in the community’s needs,” said Dr. De La Rosa, a professor in Stempel College’s School of Social Work. Thoughtful interventions are at the core of our efforts.”

CLaRO’s joint agenda and priorities were developed with a network of community partners who will play an ongoing role in guiding the science, as well as advancing neighborhood capacity building to reduce health disparities among sexual and gender minorities, migrant farmworkers, and immigrants and economically disadvantaged and underserved groups.

“The ‘o’ in CLaRO stands for opportunity,” according to Dr. Mitrani, professor and associate dean for research at the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies. “And that’s very fitting because we will have a unique opportunity to advance the science of health disparities, the strength of our community, as well as the careers of young researchers. It’s an exciting and promising next phase of our work.”

The UM-FIU CLaRO collaboration includes:

CLaRO is funded for five years by a $6,855,306 NIH Award (U54MD002266).