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Vice Chancellor's Award for excellence



The Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN)/ Yale Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centre for Health Disparities Research focused on Precision Medicine (Yale-TCC) network is a first-of-its kind collaborative research and implementation network in the English-speaking Caribbean. The network focuses on collaboration for health science research which is translated into real world applications including clinical practices and health policy. The project has received three US National Institutes of Health grants, including grants under the National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities, and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to the sum of US$17.7million. It represents two distinct levels of international collaboration for research. 

Part one of the collaboration, ECHORN, was formally initiated in 2011 as a cohort study to generate research, training, and dissemination of information on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The research network focused its study on heart disease, cancer and diabetes by recruiting and following community-dwelling adults to estimate the prevalence of risk factors associated with the named NCDs. ECHORN is a collaboration between Yale University, the University of Puerto Rico, The University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill and St Augustine campuses and the University of the Virgin Islands. 

In 2016, its success led to additional funding for an interdisciplinary research consortium and ECHORN expanded into the level two, multi-core Yale-TCC collaboration. The consortium core of the Yale-TCC brings together health policy and community leader stakeholders to address NCDs. The implementation core prioritises enhancing the evidence base for population and community level strategies and programmes to address NCDs. The biomedical informatics core experts innovate on data sharing, to ensure that research findings are accessible to stakeholders to whom they are most relevant. 

The ECHORN/Yale-TCC network is helping to address disease disparities for the millions of adults across the Eastern Caribbean, New York, and New Jersey with non-communicable diseases. The coalition, which includes the four primary academic institutions, draws on the expertise of more than 90 health researchers – site Principal Investigators Dr O. Peter Adams of The UWI, Cave Hill Campus and Professor Rohan Maharaj of The UWI, St Augustine Campus, research staff, community leaders and stakeholders representing 35 organisations in the US and Eastern Caribbean. It is an exemplary model for authentic collaboration in health science research. 

In 2019, as a direct result of stakeholder participation, childhood obesity was prioritised and a new study, Paediatric-ECHORN, launched. 

Faculty of Medical Sciences
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