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University of South Carolina and Claflin University Share $7.5 Million in AIDS, Cancer Grant


Claflin University and the University of South Carolina will share a $7.5 million federal grant to eliminate health disparities in HIV/AIDS and Cancer in the Palmetto State.

The funding agent, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), promotes minority health and leads, coordinates, supports and assesses the NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities.

The collaborating institutions, the University of South Carolina (lead institution) will receive 60 percent ($4.57 million) and Claflin University will receive 40 percent ($2.93 million). The partnership will strengthen South Carolina’s mission to boost the quality and quantity of research that is relevant to the needs of its citizens.  

Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University, said, “The USC-Claflin EXPORT partnership will offer an environment for stimulating exchange between Claflin’s and USC’s faculty and allow students to engage in undergraduate research. And, more importantly, the joint effort will lead to narrowing the gap among those affected by HIV/AIDS and cancer in South Carolina.”

The Community Partnerships and Outreach Core of the USC-Claflin EXPORT partnership will work with community leaders and public health agencies to develop and implement solutions to community health problems identified through the collaboration. 

USC President Andrew Sorensen said the grant represents the best of partnerships. â€śSouth Carolina has many health problems, and solving them is too big for just one institution. That is why I am delighted to be part of this announcement… because it represents the very best of partnerships, including one between two institutions deeply committed to research, outreach and teaching.” 

The partnership will provide fellowships and research internships; undergraduate courses in pubic health; a public health research seminar series; and a post-baccalaureate program in public health at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

The Research Core consists of two major (five-year) projects and one two-year pilot project. All of the projects focus on HIV/AIDS and cancer (in particular human papillomavirus and cervical cancer). The major aim of this project is to establish a Molecular Virology Laboratory (MVL) at Claflin University. This laboratory will serve as an important resource for all research activities of the Project Export Center.

HIV-infected people exhibit a high incidence of oral disease which is related to a reduction in oral immunity. The reduction in oral immunity may be the result of increased stress and stress hormone levels in the HIV infected individuals. Several studies indicate that acupuncture (ACU) can reduce stress and stimulate immune function. The goal of this study is to determine the efficacy of a standardized stress-reduction ACU regimen, administered in a group setting, in reducing oral immunosuppression in HIV-infected African-Americans in Columbia and Orangeburg.

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