Mission and History

El Centro is the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies’ (UM-SONHS) home for health disparities research.

Our interdisciplinary faculty, including nurse scientists, epidemiologists, public health scientists, and psychologists, conduct research and nurture the careers of the next generation of health disparities scientists. Our mission is to conduct research that improves the wellbeing of communities facing social disadvantages that endanger their health. We aim to accomplish our mission through research conducted in partnership with communities, recognizing that disadvantaged communities nonetheless have valuable cultural strengths and resources, and that we are stronger together.

El Centro was established in 2007 through a Center of Excellence grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD, P60MD002266), with the major focus of developing community interventions to improve the health of vulnerable Latino communities regarding HIV/AIDS, family and intimate partner violence, substance abuse, and mental health disorders. Our NIMHD Center of Excellence has been continually funded since 2007, and beginning in 2017, we formed a partnership with Florida International University’s CRUSADA center to establish the Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities, CLaRO (U54MD002266).

With NIMHD support, El Centro facilitated the development of the SONHS research infrastructure, helped to build and sustain community and academic alliances, expanded health disparities research training and education, and developed resources for health disparities researchers within and outside of the SONHS such as the El Centro Measures Library.

Our success as an NIMHD Center of Excellence has served to generate new research and research training programs and to attract health disparities scientists to join our ranks. As such, the SONHS’ health disparities research portfolio has grown to incorporate bio-behavioral and implementation science methodologies and to expand our focus to additional populations and health conditions. We invite you to get to know our faculty, students and programs and learn how you too can help us grow and, together, achieve the goal of health equity for all.