Core Center for Clinical Research

The MUSC Improving Minority Health in Rheumatic Diseases (IMHRD) Core Center for Clinical Research (CCCR) was established in 2017 to provide unique resources to enable and advance clinical and translational research designed to improve the health of individuals with rheumatic diseases. The center focuses on two autoimmune connective tissue diseases, scleroderma and lupus, that have a disparate impact on women and African Americans. With the core purpose of improving minority health, IMHRD researchers place a major emphasis on implementing participatory and collaborative approaches with minority patient groups and communities to encourage input in clinical research and health promotion activities.

The center is built on a solid framework of strong leadership in Rheumatology, Biostatistics and Health Disparities Research coupled with trust and a proven track record of recruitment of African American patients for clinical research. 

Objective and Specific Aims

The ultimate objective of the center is to eliminate health disparities for minority individuals with scleroderma or lupus and to improve the health of all persons at risk for rheumatic disease. This will be pursued through the following specific aims:

  1. Conduct and foster translational clinical research leading to improved diagnosis, management and ultimately a reduction or elimination of health disparities with respect to debilitating rheumatic diseases in African Americans.

  2. Develop novel tools for using the electronic health record (EHR) to expand enrollment and simplify recruitment of participants in clinical research.

  3. Provide information and education to patients and families, healthcare providers, the general public, investigators and health professionals at other academic health centers and government agencies.

  4. Provide well-characterized chronologic samples and associated clinical data to help investigators at MUSC and elsewhere to identify and understand underlying biologic/clinical reasons for differences in risk profiles.

  5. Provide quantitative guidance to the CCCR Research Community while developing novel biostatistical methods and providing methodologic educational development of trainees and junior investigators.

  6. Provide a robust pilot project program with methodologic support and mentoring for recipients.

Funding Opportunity

MUSC Core Centers for Clinical Research (CCCR)
Request for Applications (RFA) for Pilot Project Program Grants 2024 Funding Cycle

The MUSC Improving Minority Health in Rheumatic Diseases (IMHRD) Core Center for Clinical Research (CCCR) is seeking pilot project applications for the 2024 cycle. We are requesting applications that directly address minority health in rheumatic diseases or address questions relevant to improving health in rheumatic diseases regardless of race/ethnicity.

RFA Release Date: August 7, 2023 - Two to three pilots will be funded from the following sources:

  • COM Deans Office: Any faculty or postdoc in the College of Medicine eligible to apply
  • Provost: Any MUSC faculty or postdoc eligible to apply


  • November 15, 2023 by 5 pm: Letter of Intent due
  • December 15, 2023 by 5 pm:  Final application due date
  • February 5, 2024: Anticipated funding date

For more information and to apply:

Questions: Contact Jim Oates, M.D. at or call 843-789-6797 or 843-792-7389

Cores and Funded Projects

IMHRD has three cores. The Administrative Core provides overall guidance and direction for the center as well as overseeing the Pilot & Feasibility Program. The Methodologic Core leads the development of methods for clinical research, data management, and data analysis. The Clinical and Community Resource Core manages existing data resources and promotes the use of these resources by the musculoskeletal research community.

Funded Projects

Collaborating Investigators

Collaborating investigators are encouraged to familiarize themselves with IRB policies regarding nonhuman research before applying for transfer of samples or clinical data from the CCCR and include IRB approval documentation in the application.

CCCR Biorepository Request Form