Dr. Omar Bagasra, director of the South Carolina Center for Biotechnology, has been selected to participate on a special National Institutes of Health panel that will review grant applications aimed at eliminating health disparities.
“The National Institutes of Health has given Claflin University a great recognition of its visionary research through this appointment,” said Bagasra. “The reduction of health disparities is a critical issue in many communities and to be a part of rewarding the best approaches toward that end is very humbling.”
Bagasra will sit on a special emphasis panel for the NIH’s Community-Based Participatory Research Program-Panning Phase. The panel will meet August 6-8 in Rockville, Maryland. Bagasra and others on the panel will review applications for projects that seek innovative planning to foster community and organizational partnerships to address health disparities.
NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and serves as the national’s medical research agency. It is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world.
Bagasra has been a leader in the field of health disparities and recently received the James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Leadership Award. He has researched avenues to lower the chances of African-Americans being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
At Claflin, Bagasra has founded the S.C. Center for Biotechnology – the first such center at an HBCU in the nation – and the Master of Biotechnology program. He has published more than 200 scientific articles during his career.
When Bagasra arrived at Claflin in the summer of 2001, he aimed to shed light on why certain ethnicities seemed to be more susceptible to specific diseases. The former Governor’s Professor of the Year researches why African-American males statistically have higher instances and mortality rates associated with prostate cancer.