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College of Public Service welcomes Jackson Heart Study and Mississippi Urban Research Center

The College of Public Service at Jackson State University welcomes the Jackson Heart Study’s Community Outreach Center (CORC) and Graduate Training and Education Center (GTEC) and the Mississippi Urban Research Center (MURC). These organizations’ missions are aligned with the college’s mission and will provide collaborative opportunities with the three schools in the college: Health Sciences, Policy and Planning and Social Work.

Dr. Donna Antoine-LaVigne

Dr. Donna Antoine-LaVigne

The Jackson Heart Study joined the College of Public Service in October 2013, and MURC joined in January 2014. These organizations bring research, service and community outreach experience to the college. The Jackson Heart Study was awarded a five year contract to implement both the CORC and GTEC programs. Dr. Donna Antoine-LaVigne is the director of CORC, and Dr. Marinelle Payton is the director of GTEC.

The Jackson Heart Study is the largest, community-based, observational, epidemiological single-site study whose African-American adults participants were recruited from urban and rural areas of three regional counties (Hinds, Madison and Rankin) that make up the Jackson, Miss., metropolitan statistical area.

“We are very excited to become a member of the College of Public Service family. It’s a good fit for community-based participatory research,” said Antoine-LaVigne. “I can see there are many things we can do together to eliminate health disparities.”

“We are appreciative of College of Public Service dean Dr. Ricardo Brown’s leadership with the Jackson Heart Study,” Antoine-LaVigne said. “He has been working and supporting us in this new research effort.”

Dr. Marinelle Payton

Dr. Marinelle Payton

The Graduate Training and Education Center’s priority is to establish a graduate level training program focusing on cardiovascular epidemiology research. The center will develop and execute a field training instructional program for students to gain hands-on experience in epidemiological studies. Payton is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Services Research and Center of Excellence in Minority Health.

The Mississippi Urban Research Center is dedicated to improving the quality of life through basic and applied research into problems which plague urban communities and to making available the results of this research to private groups, public bodies and public officials. Dr. Melvin Davis is the Executive Director of MURC and has been with the organization since 2007. When MURC was established in 1980 it was initially a faculty scholar research assistance program. Under the direction of the late Dr. Mark Colomb in 2000, the organizational focus was grant and program-oriented. Colomb received a multi-million dollar grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to implement an HIV training program across the United States. When Davis came aboard, he transitioned MURC back to its initial vision of being more research-oriented.

Dr. Melvin Davis

Dr. Melvin Davis

“The presence of MURC will ensure students’ academic preparation will be anchored in research,” said Davis. “Entry in to the College of Public Service is a natural.”

Both the Jackson Heart Study and Mississippi Urban Research Center were previously under the administration of the Division of Research and Federal Relations at Jackson State University.

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