Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness and Quality of Life
Project Director (PD): Dr. Fatemeh Malekian, Professor, Director of Southern Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellness
Co-PD: Dr. Renita Marshall, Vice Chancellor, Academia
Co-PD: Dr. De’Shoin York, Vice Chancellor, Extension
Co-PD: Dr. Norma Dawkins, Professor and Chair, Department of Food & Nutritional Sciences
Co-PD: Dr. Shengmin Sang, Professor
Summary: African Americans (AAs) remain the least healthy ethnic group in the USA. Diet is a key contributor to disparities in many chronic diseases and conditions. AA communities have trusted the 1890 institutions for more than a century, therefore, they can play important roles in assisting AAs to combat diet-related disparities especially obesity and its related chronic diseases. Establishing an 1890 Center Of Excellence (COE) for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life is very timely and will strengthen 1890 institution’s capacities in research, teaching and extension to address diet-related health disparities in AAs. Louisiana, North Carolina, and Alabama are among the top 10 most obese states in non-Hispanic black adults. Southern University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Tuskegee University have complementary strengths in research, teaching, and extension, and are in a unique position to work as a team to establish a COE, which is on the tripartite “land-grant” mission of research, teaching, and extension to improve the health and well-being of underserved and minority population. The primary goal of this COE is to increase the capacities of 1890 institutions to address health disparity through nutrition research, teaching, and extension. The Specific Objectives are: 1) Research: To enhance the research capacity at 1890 institutions focusing on food intake and nutritional/health outcomes, 2) Teaching: To strengthen and advance innovative food and nutrition educational and instructional strategies for students at 1890 institutions, and 3) Extension: To provide training and education to underrepresented communities through multi-state food and innovative nutrition outreach programs.