"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 center racial justice and transform systems and structures to advance health equity."
Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH, Director
Lift Community Voices
Equitable access to resources 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, policymakers, 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 persists beyond the completion of the projects.
Apply Health Equity Lens to Public Policies
Health inequities disproportionately affect historically marginalized populations, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), women, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and other underserved groups. These inequities may be intentional 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. For example, redlining (the practice of systematically denying housing loans or insurance to particular groups or individuals because where they lived was deemed a poor financial risk) in Chicago determined that predominantly African American neighborhoods were not creditworthy. This practice perpetuated a form of racial discrimination that underpins the persistence of institutional racism. We must acknowledge that the intention behind oppressive policies and practices matters less than their actual impact, and then take action with an anti-racist approach.
Transform Health Outcomes
Our Center developed its mission and vision statements with the understanding that we must eradicate 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; 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 to mitigate the health outcome disparities that are influenced by racism and implicit biases.
Back to top