Research Administration

Research Administration

About Us

Message from the Vice President for Research and Health Affairs

Dear CDU Faculty, Staff, Students, and Community,
As the Vice President for Research and Health Affairs, I warmly welcome you all. Over many years of significant effort from talented faculty, dedicated staff, aspiring students, and incredible community champions, CDU’s research enterprise has grown to address several areas of health disparities through a multi-pronged translational research approach.  

In our short history, our research teams have made a difference in our community in areas ranging from Cancer health disparities research, HIV/AIDS research, Cardiometabolic research, Mental health and Health services/policy research are to name a few. In addition, CDU has trained and will continue to train highly competitive and award winning students and trainees; including undergraduate, graduate, medical students, as well as fellows and junior faculty in performing multi-faceted translational research on health disparities. The efforts of our research have garnered numerous national and international recognition, awards, and competitive grant funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other national sources.

I invite you to spend some time learning about our research accomplishments, training and research opportunities, and ongoing research activities. Our overarching goal is to create programs aimed at understanding behavioral, ethnic, cultural, and scientific reasons that contribute to health disparities and how it impacts our underrepresented and underprivileged populations. I am very proud of our accomplishments at CDU and look forward to future successes in addressing the needs of our community. I strongly encourage you to become engaged in one of our research centers, and join the CDU team in our mission to eliminate health disparities.


Jay Vadgama, Ph.D
Vice President for Research and Health Affairs

About the Vice President for Research and Health Affairs
Dr. Vadgama is the Vice President for Research and Health Affairs at CDU. He is a full Professor of Medicine at CDU and at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in the Department(s) of Internal Medicine. Dr. Vadgama has provided significant leadership in growing and Jay Vadgama Ph.Dsustaining research at CDU over the last two decades. Dr. Vadgama has several additional administrative responsibilities that include Chair of the Institutional Space Committee, Chair of the PhD Planning Committee, establishing the Intellectual Property/Patent Committee at CDU, Institutional Official for IACUC, and chairing several Task Force committees.

Leadership Experience: Dr. Vadgama continues to serve as Division Chief, Center Director, Vice President, member of the President’s Executive Team and the Provost’s Team in addition to several additional executive roles. He has over 30 years of direct experience in Academia and Research with a strong understanding of the processes, policies and procedures necessary to attain academic excellence. He continues to provide significant support and leadership to Students, Faculty, Academic Senate, Division Chiefs, Department Chairs, Deans, Provosts, and University Presidents on matters relevant to research, academic processes, challenges, and growth. He continues to work with faculty, students and staff to strengthen clinical, basic, and translational research/programs and integrate them with academic programs across campus and develop strong partnerships with UCLA, Cedars and other institutions. At the request of the University President and Deans, he has represented the University at several national forums on cancer and health disparities and he serves in an advisory capacity to the President and the Executive Team for directing research initiatives at CDU in partnership with other institutions. 

Strength in Diversity: Dr. Vadgama has over 20 years of experience in working at Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving institution (HSI). In 1992/3, he was recruited to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science as Director of Laboratory Research and Development to develop research infrastructure in Biomedical Sciences that supported underrepresented and underserved undergraduate students, graduate students, medical residents, clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. In addition, during these last 21 years and prior, he has had extensive experience working with underrepresented and under resourced communities in South Central Los Angeles and neighboring communities. Dr. Vadgama states “It continues to be an honor and privilege to be able to make differences in the day to day lives of our students, faculty, staff, and community partners”.

Translational Cancer Research Experience: Dr. Vadgama has extensive experience in conducting oncology research that integrates clinical, basic, and community-partnered research. The outcome of these efforts has resulted in the development of translational cancer research at CDU. His research team is providing significant leadership in understanding the role of comorbidities such Diabetes and Hypertension in the risk and prognosis for cancer diagnosis and treatment. His group has identified that Obesity contributes significantly to the risk for cancer development and poor clinical outcome. The CDU/UCLA Cancer Center Partnership was recently refunded for over $12.6M (2015-2020) by the National Cancer Institute (U54CA143931) to enhance cancer disparities research at CDU and support programs in developing novel research, sustaining a biomarker identification repository, formal training programs for students, fellows, and faculty, as well as community engagement activities, and clinical research studies. In addition,

Other Professional Experience: Dr. Vadgama serves as reviewer for grants submitted to the NIH, DOD, VHA, and EPSRC. He is Editor-In-Chief of IJBS, and serves on the editorial board of 9 journals and an ad-hoc reviewer for 23 peer- reviewed journals. Dr. Vadgama has participated at national and international cancer meetings as chair, co-chair, invited honorary and keynote speaker. In addition, he has served on several community-partnered panels and conferences and was recently honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award for Research and Community Partnership award.

Teaching and Training Experience: Dr. Vadgama has extensive experience in training students, residents and fellows in basic, clinical, and translational cancer research. His training programs have been funded from the NIH since 2004 and he serves as mentor and reviewer for several training programs including the CTSI and Susan G. Komen Foundation. To date, Dr. Vadgama has mentored 50 postdoctoral fellows, 13 clinical residents, more than 15 graduate or medical students (mostly underrepresented), more than 110 undergraduate students across the nation, and several high school students. Dr. Vadgama continues to serve as a mentor for several funded early stage investigators at CDU and the UCLA School of Medicine. In addition, he mentors several underrepresented trainees from schools such as CDU, UCLA, UCI, UCR, CSUDH, USC, and others.

Research Statistics

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science performs high quality research that focuses on key health disparities issues. The University has had tremendous growth in research along with an increase in its annual research funding.

Highlights (FY 2016-2017)

  • Since 1995, CDU has received 804 distinct awards with funds totaling $555,804,392 from multiple federal divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
  • Over 80M in Endowment Funds from NIH.
  • In the 2017 fiscal year, CDU was awarded 42 new/continuation awards and received over $12M in funding. CDU faculty published 82 papers and submitted 59 grant applications to various funding agencies worth $61 million

IRB and ARC Approval Counts
FY 2016-2017
Non-exempt studies:  59 submissions approved
Exempt Determinations:  9 submissions acknowledged
Reliance agreement:  10 submissions acknowledged

FY 2015-2016          
Non-exempt studies:  55 submissions approved
Exempt studies:  7 submissions acknowledged
Reliance agreement:  8 submissions acknowledged

Research Clusters and Leaders

Jay Vadgama Ph.D The Cancer Cluster at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is dedicated to reducing cancer health disparities through research, education and training, and community outreach endeavors. The Cancer Cluster is dedicated to engaging students, staff, researchers, academic faculty, community faculty, and community members into educational and research activities directed at understanding the biological, clinical, bio behavioral, and socioeconomic factors which contribute to disparities. The Cluster is led by Dr. Jay Vadgama, the Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, and is housed in the Division of Cancer Research and Training and the CDU/UCLA Cancer Center Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities at CDU.
Leader: Jay Vadgama, Ph.D.








Theodore Friedman, MD, PhDThe goal of the cardiometabolic cluster is to foster collaborative solutions for improving minority health and reducing ethnic and geographic disparities in cardiovascular and related diseases. The cluster aims to accelerate research advances by employing innovative, multi-disciplinary and inter-institutional team-science approaches aimed at improving minority health and reducing ethnic and geographic disparities in the incidence and outcomes of cardiometabolic diseases.

Leader: Theodore Friedman, MD, Ph.D.






The CDU HIV Cluster is a multidisciplinary group dedicated to ensuring excellence in HIV education, research and service provision for underserved communities, both locally and internationally. We accomplish this by stimulating THE HIV/AIDS CLUSTER LEADER -  DR. NINA HARAWAnew ideas, supporting the efforts of our members, and coordinating and representing CDU’s activities in HIV.

The Cluster and CDU-affiliated service providers include OASIS and SPECTRUM Clinics, domestic and international research and service programs, the Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center (PAETC), two HIV testing programs, and AIDS Project Los Angeles. All programs and services are located on the southeast corner of the CDU campus. Services are offered free of charge to low-income populations. The HIV Cluster is headed by Dr. Nina T. Harawa and meets monthly in order to organize and plan activities for HIV education, research and services.

Leader: Nina Harawa, Ph.D.



The mental health cluster is a recent addition to the cluster group at Charles R. Drew University. The university is surrounded by population that is predominantly Hispanic and African American. The challenges, such as absence of adequate health insurance that covers mental health needs, lower income, sociocultural barriers, and lack of access to mental health services, are unique to this community. Similar to other clusters, mental health cluster is committed to address the mental health disparity by conducting extensive research in better understanding the causes and devise effective solutions to make effective mental health services easily accessible to the community.


The Health Services/Policy Research cluster was another recent addition to the group of clusters at Charles R. Drew University. The cluster is university’s answer to a strong need for policy institute that exclusively studies the health disparity and helps in devising effective solutions not only in healthcare distribution but also in political and social avenues. The structure of healthcare legislature such as Affordable Care Act immensely affect the underserved community of South-Central Los Angeles. The cluster will work hard to ensure that the healthcare needs of the community will be effectively communicated to the policymakers and lawmakers of the city.

Research Centers and Leaders

The vision of the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) Research Enterprise is to be a leading national resource for conducting clinical and translational research that produces high-quality, cost-effective and culturally relevant solutions that improve health and wellness in minority and poor populations.
By promoting strategies that create synergy in research teams and between investigators and the community, CDU creates novel best practice solutions to transform the health of underserved communities that can be used as innovative models throughout the nation and the world.

RCMI Infrastructure for Clinical & Translational Research (RCTR)/Accelerating eXcellence In Translational Science (AXIS)

CDU/UCLA Comprehensive Cancer Center Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities

Clinical Research Education and Career Development in Minority Institutions (CRECD)

Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

The Charles R. Drew University/UCLA Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training (EXPORT) Center.

Diversity Promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Development Program (DIDARP)

RCMI Translational Research Network (RTRN)