Contact:           Ronna Charles Nu’Man            






CDC Awards $2.9 Million to Morehouse School of Medicine’s Health Initiative to Reduce Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Underserved Communities




ATLANTA – May 27, 2015 – The Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center (PRC), in collaboration with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI), Georgia State University, The Clinical Research Center, and The National Center for Primary Care has been awarded $2.9 million grant entitled MSM Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Initiative (REACH HI): Transforming Metropolitan Atlanta Communities through Prevention, Primary Care Linkages and Policy Change from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This initiative will work within Atlanta-area African Americans communities to provide direct access to health care providers, as well as train at-risk patients on ways to improve nutrition, physical activity, access to chronic disease prevention, as well as identify risks and opportunities - major factors in the successful management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


“We are clear that cardiovascular and diabetes incidence and prevalence are rooted in common risk factors that cannot be addressed by individual level intervention alone,” said MSM’s Prevention Research Center Director Tabia Henry Akintobi, Ph.D. principal investigator and center director. “Addressing their systems and environmental determinants are central to the solutions that move us from simply identifying obstinate health disparities towards health equity.”


After completing health assessments, supported by Georgia local and state health departments, MSM REACH HI will work within communities to provide attainable food, fitness and health access solutions.   PRC’s preliminary research has indicated that cardiovascular disease and diabetes were among Atlanta residents’ top health concerns. Research has also indicated strong connections between chronic diseases and mental health conditions.  So, mental and behavioral health integrations are planned as central components to community and clinical strategies implementation. 


“It is imperative that we examine multi-dimensional systems to address disparities that exist relative to diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Kisha Holden, co-principal investigator and deputy director of SHLI. “In order to achieve health equity, we must take a proactive leadership role in disentangling the complexities relative to the social determinants of health, access to care, and health policy issues for underserved, at-risk and vulnerable communities.”


MSM REACH HI’s target population of African Americans consists of residents in 31 census tracts representing five Metropolitan Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) and related communities. PRC Community Coalition Board has developed a strong collaboration infrastructure and a successful history of addressing disparities in the targeted Metropolitan Atlanta neighborhoods and will use that experience to conduct this project. This coalition of trans-disciplinary stakeholders, from multiple sectors with a common agenda to enhance community health promotion and integrate care in vulnerable local communities will work together to achieve reach the goals of the MSM REACH Initiative.


For additional information about REACH HI contact the PRC office at 404-752-1022 or 


About Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM)

Founded in 1975, MSM is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians and was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine in 2011 as the top institution in the first study of U.S. medical schools for our social mission based on our production of primary care physicians, training of underrepresented minority doctors and placement of doctors practicing in underserved communities. Our faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.


Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. For more information, please visit