JSU public health professor joins Inaugural National Research Program

Focused On Health

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Dr. Nelson Atehortua De la Pena, an assistant professor of public health in the College of Health Sciences at Jackson State University, has been selected by the National Medical Fellowships’ Board of Directors to join the inaugural cohort on Diversity in Clinical Trials Research program (NMF-DCTR).

De la Pena, in JSU’s College of Health Sciences, expressed his appreciation to the National Medical Fellowships for the award.

He said the honor goes beyond the scientific importance of just being part of this “eminent fellowship program” in the inaugural cohort. “It entails the possibility of making clinical research accessible, ethical and fair with underserved, and usually marginalized communities – especially those served by Jackson State University.”

Established in 2021, the NMF-DCTR program seeks to expand the pool of minority physicians currently underrepresented in medical research who could serve as principal investigators (PIs). The effort is part of a broader strategy to increase the diversity of patients who participate in clinical trials.

“Students will benefit from the interaction with state-of-the-art knowledge and processes. It is essential that our students have an opportunity to look at these best practices as roadmaps to produce optimal results in their own research work and be ready for a bright future,” said De la Pena.

De la Pena explained that the award comes at a very convenient time to support his scheduled doctoral-level class for the spring 2022 semester on Clinical Intervention Trials in the Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health.

He also said his work will continue to press forward for a healthier Mississippi as he tries to raise the visibility of the state’s urban HBCU.

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