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Welcome to The Sullivan Alliance site for the U.S.-Caribbean Alliance for Health Disparities Research (USCAHDR)

We developed this international consortium to respond to The Institute of Medicine’s 2009 Report, U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the Public and Private Sector. USCAHDR includes the NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH-NIMHD), The Sullivan Alliance, and The University of the West Indies.

U.S. Caribbean Social Determinants of HealthUSCAHDR conducts research to address knowledge gaps about global heath disparities. Our goals are to:

  • Explore the similarities and differences in health disparities between English-speaking U.S. and Caribbean populations of African descent,
  • Advance the global health disparities research agenda in real and timely ways, and
  • Enhance the professional development of U.S.-Caribbean researchers and scientists.

This partnership has created lasting relationships that will establish permanent, productive avenues to address the many, ongoing health disparities seen across the globe and specifically within the Caribbean region.

The project has focused on epidemiological research in order to advance understanding of the relationships among health factors such as: history-ancestry, language, indigenous health practices, life styles, and socioeconomic status. Our findings coincide with those of the CARICOM 2007 Port of Spain Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and show which countries are doing well, and which are doing less well in reducing mortality from NCDs.

USCAHDR findings can be used to help assess both the impact of policy measures taken in response to the Port of Spain Declaration and the challenges that different countries face in meeting the 2025 targets on NCDs (as part of the WHO Global Action Plan).

Reach (U.S. & Caribbean)

US Caribbean Map

View the Fact Sheet


The USCAHDR team includes scholars and researchers from a wide range of disciplines associated with health disparities and the social determinants of health.

USCAHDR Annual Steering Committee Meeting, February, 2015

USCAHDR Annual Steering Committee Meeting
Front (left to right): E. Nigel Harris, M.Phil, M.D., D.M., Vice Chancellor, UWI; Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Principal Investigator, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, The Sullivan Alliance; Marshall Tulloch-Reid, M.D., Ph.D., UWI
Standing (left to right): Irene Stephens, MPH, The Sullivan Alliance; Jennifer L. Alvidrez, Ph.D., Program Officer, Division of Scientific Programs, NIMHD; Aurelian Bidulesco, M.D., Ph.D.; Ian R. Hambleton, Ph.D., UWI; Robin H. Carle, B.A., COO, The Sullivan Alliance; Natasha Sobers-Grannun, MBBS, Dip(EPI) MPH, UWI; Rainford Wilks, MBBS, D.M., M.Sc., MRCP, UWI; Marlene MacLeish, Ed.D., Program Director; Nigel Unwin, B.M., B.Ch., M.Sc., D.M., F.R.C.P., F.F.P.H., UWI; Novie Younger-Coleman, MSc, PhD, UWI; Trevor S. Ferguson, M.B.B.S., D.M., UWI;

Steering Committee

Louis W. Sullivan
Louis W. Sullivan, MD
Principal Investigator

E. Nigel Harris
E. Nigel Harris, MPhil, MD, DM
Vice Chancellor Emeritus
University of the West Indies

Claudia R. Baquet
Claudia R. Baquet, MD, MPH

Marshall Tulloch-Reid
Marshall Tulloch-Reid, MBBS, MPhil, DSc, FACE
University of the West Indies

And an extensive and talented project research team:

Nadia Bennett, BSc, MBBS, DM

Aurelian Bidulescu, MD, MPH, PhD

Brigitte Collins, MSc

Trevor S. Ferguson, MBBS, DM, MSc, FACP

Damian Francis, MSc

Ian R. Hambleton, MSc, PhD

Christopher Hassell, PhD

Anselm Hennis, MBBS, MSc, PhD, FRCP

Christina Howitt, MSc

Marlene MacLeish, EdD, Program Director

Shelly McFarlane, PhD(c), MPhil

Madhuvanti Murphy, MPH, DrPH

T. Alafia Samuels, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Natasha Sobers-Grannum, MBBS, PGDip, MPH

Dominic Trépel, PhD

Nigel Unwin, MSc, DM, FRCP, FFPH, PhD

Rainford Wilks, MBBS, DM, MSc, MRCP, FRCP Edin

Lynda Williams, PhD

Novie Younger-Coleman, MSc, PhD



The USCAHDR team met in Alexandria, VA for its Year 5 Steering Committee meeting.


At the 28th Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development - Health (CARICOM), USCAHDR leadership, Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Nigel Harris and Dr. Alafia Samuels had the opportunity to highlight our continued progress for the CARICOM attendees (including leadership from PAHO, ministers of Health, other senior government officials from many Caribbean countries, and senior leaders from the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH).


Ms. Stephens presented a poster on USCAHDR research findings during the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Sullivan also attended, joining a panel discussion reflecting on the 30th Anniversary of the Heckler Report, the landmark study of minority health disparities in the United States.


USCAHDR convened in Alexandria, VA for its annual Steering Committee meeting.


Dr. Sullivan discussed emerging health disparities reduction research from the Caribbean and its relationship to U.S. populations of African descent at Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural & Minority Medicine (IAMMM) in January.


Dr. MacLeish and Ms. Irene Stephens participated in a poster session during the 2014 Minority Health and Health Disparities Grantees’ Conference at National Harbor, Maryland. View the Poster


Dr. MacLeish presented an overview of the U.S.-Caribbean project and related research gaps among populations of African descent during a research and data collection workshop at the 2nd United States Conference on African Immigrant Health (USCAIH) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


In 2014, USCAHDR launched a website to enable U.S. and Caribbean researchers and others to access project information and data.


Dr. Trevor Ferguson presented a paper entitled “Educational Health Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Jamaica: Findings from the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Surveys” at the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences 22nd Annual Research Conference, in Kingston, Jamaica. The paper highlighted changing patterns in educational health disparities among men and women for the years 2001 and 2008 and that those health disparities were largest for diabetes mellitus and overweight/obesity. The paper was well received and stimulated robust discussion.


USCAHDR Annual Steering Committee Meeting, February, 2013


NIH/NIMHD Health Disparities Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. View the Poster & Presentation


Dr. Sullivan and Program Director Marlene MacLeish, Ed. D. have spoken and presented at the Puerto Rico conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico


USCAHDR program activity commenced with a three-day site visit to the UWI campus in Kingston, Jamaica. Principal Investigator Louis Sullivan, MD, accompanied by Steering committee member Dr. Claudia Baquet and Project Director Marlene MacLeish presented to the other members of USCAHDR.

For Researchers

The USCAHDR team has identified a number of striking findings from its novel analyses of mortality datasets reaching back to 1965 and including current (2013/14) data. Most significantly, the project analyzed Anglo-Caribbean vs, African-American life expectancy, mortality trends, and the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

In addition, our researchers, comparing data (2000 forward) of White Americans with that of African-Americans, found changes in mortality and life expectancy based on region, as well as reduced disparities in mortality from cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

We are continuing to analyze the relative contribution of different causes of death to the trends outlined above, and we are pleased to share these latest findings – and our new meta dataset – with researchers who wish to apply for access.

Medical students meeting with Louis W. Sullivan and E. Nigel Harris
Medical students meeting with Louis W. Sullivan and E. Nigel Harris at UWI

Contact Us

You can reach us via US Postal Mail, email, phone, fax or via web form by visiting our contact page.

We are grateful for the professional and financial support provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.