On September 22, 2016 the Center for Health Equity Research (known as CHER) was formally established. CHER’s Director, Dr. Julie Baldwin, Professor of Health Sciences, was recruited to begin this important work.
CHER is already engaged in several projects which will support their mission of ending health disparities in our region of the state as well as further afield. CHER will work with minority, rural, and other underserved communities to identify health disparities and health priority areas; build and maintain partnerships between these communities and researchers at NAU; and work together to develop strategies to end health disparities.
Part of that task includes engaging with communities, health providers, and others by conducting a regional needs and assets assessment, which is underway now (funded by NARBHA Institute), and building a coalition of partners dedicated to working together on these issues.
Initiating a new, robust program of original research in health equity is an important component, intended to discover potential solutions to health equity issues. Initial projects underway address public health issues for incarcerated citizens, opioid misuse and chronic pain in rural populations, and oral health interventions for American Indian children.
CHER is also engaged in professional and workforce development to bring greater diversity into the health research and healthcare workforce. CHER has been instrumental in sponsoring and implementing a well-attended one-day symposium on the topic, as well as numerous community workshops; the CHER Director is part of the planning committee for a new multidisciplinary PhD program in health at NAU.