October 6, 2008

Charles Drew University Receives $15 Million Endowment Grant to Expand Its Research Capacity for Benefit of Underserved Communities From NIH’s National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities; New Grant Brings University’s Research Endowment Ba

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) has been awarded a major $15 million endowment grant that will significantly expand its medical research infrastructure and capacity from the National Institutes of Health, through its National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), it was announced today by Dr. Susan Kelly, President and CEO of CDU. With the new grant, the university's research endowment base will grow to more than $50 million.

"Receiving a multi-million dollar grant is reward in and of itself, but one of the most gratifying aspects of this endowment is what it represents for all of us at CDU. Not only is it further welcome recognition of the University's research talent, but it is an expression of confidence from the nation's medical research agency in our skills. It specifically underscores our effectiveness in translational research -- the ultimate benefit that brings health solutions relevant to diverse communities more quickly and at lower cost," Dr. Kelly said. "Equally significant is this grant's significance as a tribute to the leadership and vision of Dr. Keith Norris, CDU's Executive Vice President for Research and Health Affairs, and his exceptionally dedicated team. We honor them with our continuing appreciation and gratitude."

The endowment grant, given to CDU's Medical Sciences Institute (MSI), will provide $5 million for each of the next three years. The earnings on the endowment funds will expand the research capacity and infrastructure at CDU, specifically to conduct further translational approaches on health inequities. They will also support Charles Drew University's College of Science and Health, particularly its new nursing program, and the College of Medicine's planned independently LCME-accredited four-year medical school. The grant will also enable development of a Center for Community Engagement, including support for a new faculty track stressing innovative education of health professionals committed to underserved communities, as well as other initiatives to promote and increase academic efforts to reduce health inequities.

Dr. Norris stated: "We particularly value the leadership of Dr. John Ruffin and his team at the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD). The NCMHD, through grants such as this, continues to fulfill its Congressional mandate of reducing health inequities in the most meaningful ways, and with extraordinary vision. For Charles Drew University, this grant gives enormous acceleration to the mission of our Medical Sciences Institute: re-engineering research efforts, creating a highly structured system that more effectively translates scientific advances to improving patient outcomes. It will enable us to continue to recruit and retain the best and brightest scientific researchers whose efforts have the greatest potential for impacting care for at-risk populations in underserved areas."

CDU has long been recognized as a leader in health disparities and translational research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. Research funding for CDU from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) increased five-fold over the past decade. The university outranks one third of U.S. medical schools for NIH funding despite its being the smallest. CDU's College of Science and Health (COSH) alone ranks seventh nationally among 300 peer health and science colleges that receive NIH funding.

With a mission of educating and training medical professionals for underserved communities and advancing the institution's renowned health inequities research capabilities, CDU is currently developing a Life Sciences Research and Nursing Education building (the first new building on campus in 25 years), initiating new educational programs such as the new Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing (the nation's first nursing school focused on health inequities), planning an independently LCME-accredited four-year medical school for CDU, and establishing a series of Urgent and Specialty Care clinics with training functions. CDU's first Urgent Care Clinic opened in South Los Angeles on September 15th.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. Helping to lead the way toward important medical discoveries that improve people's health and save lives, NIH scientists investigate ways to prevent disease as well as the causes, treatments, and even cures for common and rare diseases. Composed of 27 Institutes and Centers, the NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world. With the support of the American people, the NIH annually invests over $28 billion in medical research. More than 83% of the NIH's funding is awarded through competitive grants to researchers at universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world.


CDU is a private nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated over 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals. The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S. CDU is recognized as a leader in health inequities and translational research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. The University is among the top 7% of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded institutions and rated one of the top 50 private universities in research in the U.S. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the "best performer" in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians. For more information, visit http://www.cdrewu.edu.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

 CONTACT:  Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science           Elia Esparza           (323) 563-5822           [email protected]            Parsons Communications           Craig Parsons           (310) 472-7632           (310) 200-4310