Research Objectives

  • Identify research needs

  • Insure financial support 

  • Ask the difficult questions

  • Develop the Solutions

  • Report and Evaluate

  • Discover NMA physician researchers

  • Refer to NMA for implementation

Approach to Research

  • Interdisciplinary: We believe this type of approach is required to tackle the complex problems of poor health and disease.  

  • Multi-system: Health evolves in multiple systems, the cellular, individual, familial, organizational, and societal. 

  • Developmental: An applied life course perspective on health and development will not only bolster the ability to develop targeted strategies but develop models that more apt to depict voids in past and current research and policy.

  • Health Metrics: The Cobb Institute's approach to research includes examining how well existing models help us understand disparities and developing new models and measures where appropriate. 

  • Policy Relevant:  As a solutions oriented research organization, the Cobb Institute, examines the policy implications of the research projects it undertakes.

Research and Policy Analysis

Health disparities research should proactively seek to be inclusive of linked lives, contexts, and systems that impact health across the lifespan. The Cobb Institute designs, implements, and evaluates large-scale multi-year field research, as in the case of Medicare Part D study in the Mississippi Delta. The Cobb Institute also conducts analyses of current and proposed policies and convenes roundtable discussions with nationally recognized experts and frontline practitioners to help inform future directions in health disparities research. 

Community Partnerships

The research undertaken by the Cobb Institute is made possible through on-going collaborations with communities. Our community partners facilitate field research and inform our methodology and approaches to specific projects. In turn, we invest in our community partners through technical assistance and training opportunities. 


To inform policy and practice, it is critical to develop tailored communication for researchers, policy-makers, health practitioners and other key stakeholders. The Cobb Institute endeavors to provide clear findings to these audiences through a peer-reviewed journal and other dissemination tools.


The current research agenda of the Cobb Institute focuses on the development and propagation of models of health systems change to improve the health of vulnerable populations. The solutions to inequities in healthcare require interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations among public agencies, grass-roots organizations, and the broader scientific community. 

  • HIV/AIDS: Arguably the most pressing public health problem facing the nation today is the HIV/AIDS crisis in the African American community. Efforts such as the three papers published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, position the Cobb Institute to identify and develop innovative solutions and interventions that will help combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

  • Disaster Preparedness: Historic and recent disasters provide evidence of the significant vulnerabilities that exist across all stages of emergency, from planning and preparedness to response and recovery.  The Cobb Institute analyzes the role of race and socioeconomic conditions in emergency preparedness.

  • Cultural Competence: Cultural competence has been advanced as a major strategy to address health and healthcare disparities. The Cobb Institute takes a critical look at the research needs in this area. In collaboration with the NMA, the Cobb Institute launched a national study to assess cultural competence training and education for healthcare professionals.