Meharry Medical College celebrates donors and researchers

Samuel Adunyah, Ph.D., principle investigator and executive director of MeTRC and chair and professor, biochemistry and cancer biology, at Meharry Medical College, pictured with recipients from the conference’s 2016 Student Poster Competition.

Samuel Adunyah, Ph.D., principle investigator and executive director of MeTRC and chair and professor, biochemistry and cancer biology, at Meharry Medical College, pictured with recipients from the conference’s 2016 Student Poster Competition.

Meharry Medical College has recently held a major fund-raiser and a major health disparities conference.

Last week, Thursday, Nov. 10 and Friday, Nov. 11, Meharry’s Translational Clinical and Research Center (MeTRC) hosted “Addressing Health Disparities: The Role of Translational Research,” a special event bringing together researchers to share the latest findings on health disparities and diseases and disorders that are disproportionately impacting minorities and underserved communities.

MeTRC investigators presented research on topics including the regional impact of disparities in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancers and neurological disorders. Researchers looked at a number of factors including race, ethnicity, gender, education, disability, sexual orientation, income and education that could contribute to these disparities.

“Our MeTRC team, led by Samuel Adunyah, Ph.D., continues to make significant contributions to research regarding diseases and disorders which compromise the health and wellbeing of underserved and underrepresented communities,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College. “We are hopeful that their work will lead to the development of new drugs and innovative treatments that narrow gaps in care and improve health for all.”

MeTRC was founded in 2009 to cultivate minority researchers by funding their projects and building an infrastructure of laboratories, training, and other staff to support their work. It has received more than $35 million in funding from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health to advance health disparities research.

Meharry Medical College is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of its Circle of Friends, an influential group of supporters devoted to advancing the college’s singular mission of training physicians, dentists, biomedical scientists and public health leaders, to care for the underserved.

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At the annual gala last month, the college honored Dr. Philip Wenk, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee, who received the Circle of Friends Award for his deep commitment of time and resources to enhancing Meharry’s dental school with state-of-the-art innovations. Since 2008, Dr. Wenk, through Delta Dental of Tennessee, has given more than $2.3 million to Meharry, primarily to incorporate cutting-edge educational technology into its dental school curriculum.

“We are so grateful for our collaboration with Delta Dental and proud of what we have accomplished together for the good of communities throughout Tennessee in desperate need of exceptional dentists,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry. “Phil Wenk is more than deserving of our Circle of Friends Award, which honors those who – like the members of the Circle of Friends themselves – make a profound commitment to Meharry, its mission, and the students who go forth to carry out that mission.”

Members pledge to donate a $1,000 or more annually to the institution.

“For 20 years, we have been blessed with incredible support from our Circle of Friends community,” added Dr. Hildreth. “The members of Circle of Friends have not only made a difference to the Meharry community, but their support is shaping how we approach healthcare across our nation.”