Research Centers in Minority Institutions

Research Centers in Minority Institutions

Clinical Research Center


About the CDU Clinical Research Center (CRC)

In keeping with the motto, "Research that makes a difference," the CDU CRC is devoted to the long-term goal of eliminating health disparities in minority and underserved populations through cutting edge clinical research.

The Director

Keith C. Norris, M.D. FACP
Program Director, Clinical Research Center

Program Director for the Comprehensive Center for Health Disparities in Chronic Kidney Disease

Executive Vice President for Research and Health Affairs
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science
11705 Deputy Yamamoto Place, Suite B
Lynwood, CA 90262
Tel: (323) 249-5702
Fax: (323) 357-3701

Keith C. Norris, M.D., FACP, is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology, and is a certified hypertension specialist. He currently serves as the Director of the Clinical Research Center at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, where he also serves as the Vice-President of Research. He is the Editor-in-Chief for the journal, "Ethnicity and Disease." A member of the Board of Directors of the Renal Physicians Association, Dr. Norris is also a member of medical/scientific advisory boards for the American Association of Kidney Patients and the American Kidney Fund. He is active in many professional societies and is past president of the Association of Minority Nephrologists. Dr. Norris also serves on a subcommittee formed under the Committee for the Global Advancement of Nephrology (COMGAN) to discuss and explore mechanisms to relieve the disparities of kidney disease in indigenous populations. He serves as a CQI and QA advisor to industry and has published over 100 articles and book chapters. He is the principal investigator for a NIH comprehensive center for health disparities in chronic kidney disease.


The CRC is funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR/NIH) through its RCMI Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative (RCRII) Program.

Physical Space

The CDU CRC occupies over 4,000 square feet (clinical and administrative). The clinical facility is located on the second floor of the August F. Hawkins Building. It has an eight-bed ward consisting of monitored semi-private rooms, a sample handling laboratory, and research kitchen. The administrative facility is located in the ERC Business Park approximately one mile away from the CDU main campus. In addition to administrative offices, this facility also houses a state-of-the-art Exercise Physiology Laboratory.

Daily Census

The CDU CRC has over 20 active clinical studies with an average daily census of 45 participants utilizing the clinical services and examination rooms within this common area. In addition, there are over 20 additional ongoing studies utilizing the CRC Hormone Assay Core Lab services.

Active Research Areas

Presently, there is ongoing clinical research in the following research areas:

  • Endocrinology and Metabolic studies · Exercise physiology · Nutrition · Hypertension · Kidney disease Lead toxicology · Keloids · Cancer
  • Research in each of the above areas is conducted with particular emphasis on analyzing, reducing and/or eliminating health disparities. The goal of the CDU CRC is thus to help bridge the translational gap from basic science to medical care, particularly for minority and underserved populations.

Inpatient and Outpatient Services

The CDU CRC is primarily an outpatient facility consisting of eight beds. Although it is primarily an outpatient facility, the CRC can provide nursing and clerical staffing for 24-hour inpatient care required for certain studies through the use of scatter beds in the hospital itself.

Community Engagement

One of the things that makes the CDU CRC unique is its active engagement of the community surrounding KDMC (i.e., the Watts/Willowbrook area) as a partner in clinical research. Through its liaison with community leader Loretta Jones, Director of Healthy African-American Families, the CDU CRC seeks to enhance community involvement and participation in research with the goal of reducing health disparities in minority and underserved populations

Hormone Assay Core (HAC) Laboratory

The Hormone Assay Core Lab was established to develop and make available specialized hormone assays needed by investigators working in the field of endocrinology. It is housed on the third floor of the Augustus F. Hawkins Building. Most of the hormone research which utilizes the CRC's Hormone Assay Core Lab is geared toward understanding mechanisms of disease, with a particular focus on reducing health disparities related to endocrinology and metabolism.

Nutritional Services

The CRC is responsible for all nutritional services to patients in the CRC. This includes meal service to all inpatients and outpatients on the unit who are required to stay for three or more hours, as well as more detailed nutrition care and diet analysis when requested. Investigators working in the area of diet and metabolism, and who might thus need the specialized nutritional services offered by the CDU CRC, are similarly focused on the overall goal of eliminating health disparities in minority and underserved populations.

Exercise Physiology Laboratory

A 3,000 square foot Exercise Physiology Lab is located in the ERC Business Park approximately one mile from KDMC. It is fully equipped with Keiser pneumatic resistance training equipment, free weights, treadmills, stationary exercise cycles, as well as state-of-the-art, computerized equipment for measuring muscle performance, cardiopulmonary response, and body composition. These tools are available for utilization by investigators working the field of health disparities related to endocrine metabolism and exercise physiology.

This program was funded by NIH/NCRR grant no. RR-05-001.