Matt Schorr
July 19, 2016

Photo by Matt Schorr
Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the University of Miami and Meharry Medical College gather for the launch of the Vanderbilt-Miami-Meharry Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. Researchers gathered at Vanderbilt University on July 18, 2016, to launch the new Vanderbilt-Miami-Meharry Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health.

The new center -- which will enable research using approaches to precision medicine to eradicate health disparities, specifically those among African Americans and Latinos -- is the result of a five-year, $11.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The launch saw researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the University of Miami and Meharry Medical College brainstorm ideas to promote the center and engage the populations it aims to serve. Specific aims included developing ethical, deliberate, socially and culturally acceptable methods for engaging racial and ethnic minorities and vulnerable populations in precision medicine research.

Others included:

  • Establish the human and technical infrastructure to foster transdisciplinary national-scale research collaborations that focus on using precision medicine approaches to eradicate health disparities
  • Develop novel methods to integrate individual, contextual and environmental data to accurately identify precise groups at risk for disparities, and to explain mechanisms for disparities
  • Propel novel health disparities research leveraging genomic and phenotypic data to 
    • Examine differences in drug therapy outcomes
    • Identify effective person-specific treatments that enhance therapeutic outcomes among racial and ethnic minorities
    • Study genomic variations that impact the specificity and response of drugs
    • Develop valid predictive models (person-specific) for preventing, screening and treating conditions

The launch included a celebration dinner the previous evening (July 17, 2016) at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

The center will be led by principal investigators with complementary expertise: Consuelo H. Wilkins, M.D., MSCI, Executive Director, Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance; Nancy J. Cox, Ph.D., Director, Vanderbilt Genetics Institute; Maria de Fatima Lima, Ph.D., Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Research, Meharry Medical College; and Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.


About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance develops and supports collaborative initiatives and programs in biomedical research and clinical science training. It has assisted in establishing joint and shared residencies in surgery, pediatrics, ophthalmology, orthopedics, urology, cardiology and other medical specialties. Since its founding in 1999, the Alliance has provided opportunities for collaboration between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and for collaboration with projects in the community. The elimination of health disparities between the majority and minority populations has continued to be a major focus of Alliance projects.


About Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health center dedicated solely to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church related institution, particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce.  Visit to learn more. 


About Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is home to Vanderbilt University Hospital, The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. These hospitals experienced more than 63,000 inpatient admissions during fiscal year 2015. Vanderbilt’s adult and pediatric clinics treated more than 2.2 million patients during this same period. Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt were recognized again this year by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals as among the nation’s best with 18 nationally ranked specialties.


About the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

The University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine was founded in 1952 as the first medical school in Florida and is acclaimed nationally and internationally for research, patient care, education and community service in the United States, South American and the Caribbean. Serving more than 5 million people as the only academic medical center in South Florida, the Miller School of Medicine has earned international acclaim for its patient care and research innovations. The Miller School of Medicine campus consists of 35 acres within the 80-acre complex of the Miami Health District, including more than 2 million square feet of research space, and ranks in the top third among U.S. medical schools in terms of research funding awarded.