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UMMC Lands a $19.9 Million Research Grant to Expand Obesity Research
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University of Mississippi Medical Center

Doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center hope a major research grant will help the facility become the nation's leader in the study of obesity.  It's the largest research grant ever awarded to UMMC.

Patricia Boyd is with the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. The attractive 66-year old is 5 feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds. Boyd has lost weight using diets and supplements, but has gained it back. A bad knee makes it hard to exercise. Now she's pre-diabetic and taking medicine for conditions including high cholesterol.

"My blood pressure's high and a lot of times diabetes and blood pressure go together, so trying to keep that at a good level and I take so much medicine and I don't like all that medicine," said Boyd.

Dr. James Wilson is with the University of Mississippi Medical Center.  He says the state has the highest rate of obesity in the nation. Wilson hopes a new $19.9 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health will help UMMC become a leader in obesity research and related conditions. 

"Diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, some types of cancer are more common in people with diabetes. Problems with pregnancy are associated with obesity," said Wilson.

The grant will fund clinical studies, help recruit, train and staff its research center. 

"It will fund people. Both people that we train internally, but also for this work to succeed, we're going to have to recruit high quality established clinical investigators from other places in the country," said Wilson.

Tougaloo College and the University of Southern Mississippi will collaborate with the University of Mississippi Medical Center on research projects.