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Director’s Message

"We find ways to improve health and health care delivery so that all types of people—from all types of backgrounds—have the opportunity to achieve their best possible health by focusing on research, community needs, and policies that can transform systems and structures to advance health equity."


Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH, Director

Melissa Simon

Lift Community Voices 

Health impacts each person's ability to thrive and is affected by all types of societal factors such as education, food access, housing, employment, environment, etc. Achieving health equity therefore requires engaging community members with lived experience, policy makers, and subject matter experts of various social issues. Our community-based participatory research projects seek guidance and collaboration from community leaders and organizations from the research design to the impact that goes beyond the completion of the projects. 


Apply Health Equity Lens to Public Policies 

Health inequities predominantly affect people from historically marginalized populations, including people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities and other underserved groups. These inequities are no accident or simply the unintended consequences of well-intended policy—many US policies over the course of history were created with the intent to oppress certain populations and prevent them from accumulating wealth and therefore power. We must acknowledge that the intention behind oppressive policies and practices matters less than their actual impact. 


Transform Health Outcomes 

Our Center developed its mission and vision statements with the understanding that we must break down systemic and institutional barriers to advance health equity. Furthermore, our vision recognizes that there are severe disconnects between academic researchers, the communities they study, and policymakers, and even the most commonly cited research that could inform positive policy changes rarely gets into the hands of policymakers. To create transformational change, we must connect these areas that often operate in siloes. We must ensure that the health care and research workforce is a diverse and inclusive one and that we train the next generation to serve with empathy and compassion. 

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