Health Disparities Center Launched

The “Stanford Precision Health for Ethnic and Racial Equity Center” or known as SPHERE is one of the first national centers focused on using precision-medicine tools to improve the health of underserved ethnic and racial groups.

The Center to be located at the Stanford School of Medicine will focus on identifying genetic and biological markers that could be used to help reduce disease in minority populations in the U.S.  

The SPHERE Center will be funded by a five year $11.5 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH. Plans are to start funding pilot projects in 2017.

The Center will develop analytical tools for precision health, data sets, and outreach programs to help accelerate the integration of treatments and interventions within target communities. Three initial projects will be funded. The first project will look at rheumatoid arthritis, biomarkers among members of a Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota.

Another project will quantify metabolic and biomolecular differences of Latino youth to gain insights into the prevention and treatment of excessive weight gain and diabetes within this population.

The third project will develop best practices for communicating genetic cancer risks to Latinos and Asian Americans and will study the responses of Latino and ethnic Chinese families when they receive genetic risk information about cancer.

The research team will analyze the quality and content of communication between clinicians and patients over a one year period to determine what health decision are made based on the information.

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