Howard University Graduate School

HUGS Research Magazine
and Graduate School Research Archive

ARTICLEIssue 012

HE-TAP Regional Training Held at Howard University

J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health; John Ruffin, PhD, founding director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and Anthony K. Wutoh, PhD, RPh, Howard University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

The Higher Education Technical Assistance Project (HE-TAP) held a symposium in conjunction with Howard University from September 14-16, 2015 at the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library.

Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the project sought to target institutions of higher education, including minority-serving institutions (MSIs), with training sessions that included:

•   Hands-on sessions with federal grant makers and regional officials;
•   Strategic guidance on preparing competitive research proposals;
•   Workshops on health disparities programs and partnership opportunities;
•   Special networking events.

Several hundred professionals met with representatives from federal agencies and learned strategies to make their research proposals more competitive, and about opportunities to partner with federal agencies in the fight to reduce health disparities. HE-TAP presentations focused on sharing resource development strategies, regional health data and information, emerging health disparities research, community engagement, and opportunities for networking.

Maritsa Serlemitsos-Day, Beverly Mims, and other workshop participants

The first day of the session opened with a welcome from Howard University Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Anthony K. Wutoh, PhD, RPh, and Michelle Loosli, MS, PMP, Director, Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC). Elton Naswood, Senior Program Analyst, OMHRC, gave an overview of the HE-TAP symposium and Dalton Paxman, PhD, Regional Health Administrator, Region III, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Mildred Hunter, led the first session of the symposium.

John Ruffin, PhD, founding director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), Dr. Wutoh and Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, opened the proceedings with a reception honoring the late Congressman Louis Stokes, who was instrumental in creating the platform to address racial and ethnic disparities in the United States.

Michael Burns, Portland Ridley, Jonca Bull, John Watson, Tony Nguyen, HE-TAP participants

Following this session, representatives from federal agencies, who are also partners in the initiative, spoke on a variety of topics. They included Jay Blackwell, Capacity Building Division Director, Office of Minority Health (OMH); Elton Naswood, Senior Program Analyst, OMHRC, Dalton Paxman, Mildred Hunter, Margarita Figueroa, MD, MPH, Clinical Consultant, Office of Regional Operations, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); Allen Ruby, PhD, Associate Commissioner, Policy and Systems Division, National Center for Research Education, U.S. Department of Education; Sylvia M. James, PhD, MSc,BSc, Division Director, Division of Human Resource Development, National Science Foundation (NSF); Portland Ridley, Public Health Advisor, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of HHS; Charles Reynolds, Director, Division of Community Programs (DCP), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), SAMHSA, U.S. Department of HHS; Shannon Taitt, MPA, Public Health Analyst, Division of Services Improvement, CSAT, SAMHSA, U.S. Department of HHS; Della Brown White, PhD, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (NIH); U.S. Department of HHS, LaJoy Y. Mosby, MBA, Deputy Director, OMHRC; Ivory Toldson, Ph.D., Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, U.S. Department of Education; Beatriz Ceja-Williams, MA, Director, Hispanic- Serving Institutions Division, Office of Post-Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Capt. Elijah Martin, MPH, Regional Minority Health Consultant, Region III, OMH, U.S. Department of HHS; Jonca Bull, MD, Director, OMH, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of HHS; Michael Burns, Senior Advisor to the Regional Administrator/Check Up Program for Small Systems (CUPSS) Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);Tony Nguyen, MLIS, AHIP, Emerging Technologies/Communications Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region; Alan VanBiervliet, PhD, Program Official, Extramural Programs, National Library of Medicine, NIH, U.S. Department of HHS; and John Watson, MBA, MSIs Program Coordinator, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Participants also toured Howard University's new state-of-the-art research facilities.

Earl Ettienne, LPD, MBA, RPh, Howard University College of Pharmacy, led day two of the proceedings and set the stage for Daphne Bernard, Pharm D, Interim Dean for the Howard University College of Pharmacy, who moderated a research panel with distinguished Howard University faculty researchers. Panelists included Dr. Wutoh; Gary Harris, PhD, PE, Associate Provost for Research & Dean Graduate School; Xibin Gu, Professor of Histopathology, Dental School; William M. Southerland, PhD, Principal Investigator RCMI, Professor of Biochemistry; Georgia M. Dunston, PhD, Founding Director & Molecular Genetics Director, National Human Genome Center; Emmanuel O. Akala, RPh, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutics; and Fatimah Jackson, PhD, Professor and Director of the Cobb Research Lab.

Several research workshops were conducted as breakout sessions covering topics such as environmental health, HIV/AIDS, oral health, emergency preparedness, mental health, health justice, and how to prepare a research publication. Presenters for the research workshops included Maggie Breville, Environmental Scientist, National Center for Environmental Research, EPA; Cynthia McOliver, PhD, MPH, Environmental Health Specialist, National Center for EPA; Brandon Jones, PhD, Biologist, National Center for Environmental Research, EPA; Lisa Bowleg, Professor of Applied Social Psychology, Department of Psychology, The George Washington University; Melissa Grimm, PhD, MCHES, Deputy Editor, Health Promotion Practice, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Health and Human Performance, Radford University, Brian Laurence, PhD, DDS, Associate Professor, Restorative Dentistry, Howard University, Jonca Bull, (degree) Michael Burns, Catherine L. Will, Office of Graduate Student Affairs, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Amanda Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director, Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Steven Owens, MD MPH, Director of Health Equity, Directors of Health Promotion & Education, Thometta Cozart, MS, MPH, CPH, CHES, Internship & Fellowship Program Manager, Directors of Health Promotion & Education; Makola M. Abdullah, PhD, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Bethune-Cookman University; Thomas Mellman, MD, Professor, Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Psychiatry; and Elise L. Scott, PhD, Director, Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, Howard University.

Anita Smith-Hawkins, Leo Rouse, Erica Taylor, Ebony Andrews, Bernadine Lacey, HE-TAP participants

The final day of the symposium, titled the HBCU Summit, was opened by Goulda Downer. PhD, FAND, RD, LN, CNS, Principal Investigator/Assistant Professor, AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) Capitol Region Telehealth Center; followed by Allan Noonan, MD, MPH RADM, U.S. Public Health Service. A panel discussion followed on increasing the matriculation of underrepresented minorities into postsecondary education. The panel included Seneca Bock, MSW, Community Capacity Builders, LLC/Healin Sistaz Network International; Bernardine Lacey, American Academy of Nursing Living Legend, Nursing Consultant; Anthony Woart, PhD, Director, Minority Health Institute, Professor of Sociology, Bluefield State College; Kim Syndor, PhD, Dean, School of Community Health and Policy, Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Health Sciences, Morgan State University; Leo E. Rouse, DDS, FACD, Former Dean, College of Dentistry, Howard University; Ebony Andrews, PharmD, Assistant Professor and Chair, Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy, Hampton University; and Erica Taylor, MEd, PhD, FACSM, Associate Professor, Public & Allied Health Sciences, Delaware State University. The audience was subsequently broken into distinct interdisciplinary teams charged with providing solutions to increasing enrollment in college, particularly in the STEM disciplines.

Earl Ettienne, HE-TAP Project Lead, and J. Nadine Gracia

This symposium ended with a presentation by Onyemaechi Nweke, DrPH, MPH Lead, National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities, Office of Minority Health/Office of the Secretary US Department of Health and Human Services. The post symposium evaluations underscored the success of the collaboration. All categories scored reflected scores in excess of 3.7 on a 4 point scale.

Special thanks to the Office of the Provost, Graduate School, Earl Ettienne, Jeronimo Augusto, Nicole Retland, Maya Shi, Goulder Downer, Tasha Delane, Adaku Ofoegbu, Tajinatus Oishi, and Rania Almatari for their timeless efforts in making the symposium a success.

For more information, please contact Earl Ettienne at or

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