Skip to main content

Research

The Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) prioritizes research with an overarching goal of advancing health equity so that every person has an equal opportunity to achieving the optimal health they can enjoy. We strive to reach this goal with investigations that focus on diverse underserved and underrepresented populations, paying particular attention to the attainment of health equity through community-based participatory research.

Research Categories

 Cancer Health Equity

Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC)

  • The Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC) is a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer partnership led by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Our mission is to advance cancer health equity through meaningful scientific discovery, education, training, and community engagement.

Community Scientist Program

  • The Community Scientist Program aims to better link basic/bench cancer research conducted at Lurie Cancer Center (LCC) with the communities in Northwestern's catchment area who bear the largest brunt of cancer health disparities. The program will establish a bidirectional relationship between six community scientists and three LCC bench science teams in order to promote research that is more relevant and more accessible to the communities affected most by cancer health disparities.

RCMAR: The Intersection of Cancer and Culture: Financial Burden among Chinese and South Asian Elders with Malignancy in Chicago

  • Examine financial burden from cancer treatment in Chinese and South Asian elders cancer patients or survivors through semi-structured interviews.

P20 - Northwestern University Cancer Health Equity Research SPORE (NU-CHERS)

  • Translational research program in partnership with Northwestern University and Stroger Hospital to identify and characterize gynecologic cancer health disparities between Black and white women via bench work, establishing a biobank and career force development to support a P50 grant submission focused on gynecologic cancer health disparities.

Chinatown Patient Navigation (PN) 2.0

  • In partnership with Mercy Hospital and the Chinese American Service League (CASL), we are expanding patient navigation to include both genders and all cancer types in Chinatown through a randomized intervention comparing traditional one-on-one navigation and checklist-based navigation.

4R Care Coordination for Patients with Cancer - Merck

  • Primary care in community health clinics is crucial yet patients facing a cancer diagnosis must seek care outside of this more familiar setting. Oftentimes when patients receive a new diagnosis of cancer, their primary care needs are markedly disrupted. Building on our Center’s extensive experience in community-engaged intervention research with providers and health systems addressing needs of medically underserved communities, and in partnership with Alliance Chicago, we have implemented a “4R” (Right Information, Right Care, Right Patient, Right Time) cancer care coordination project that responds directly to our local community health center partners’ needs and uses a care plan approach to help primary care providers and care coordinators ensure that their cancer patients receive the highest quality cancer care.

4R Care Coordination for Patients with Cancer - ECOG ACRIN Cancer Research Group

  • Simon is the current chair of the ECOG ACRIN Research Group’s Health Equity Committee. The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, a collaboration between the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) is a multidisciplinary, membership-based scientific organization that is dedicated to achieving research advances in all aspects of cancer care to reduce the burden of cancer and improve the quality of life and survival in patients with cancer. The Health Equity Committee of the ECOG ACRIN Research Group specifically ensures that racial justice and health equity are embedded within cancer clinical trials. These considerations include a broad definition of underserved populations, including adolescents and young adults, the elderly, racial/ethnic/gender minorities, and rural residents, allowing the committee to ensure that research efforts include a full representation and accrual of underserved groups.

 Diversity in Clinical Trials and Prevention

Library Partnerships to Advance Diversity in Clinical Trials

  • Real Talk: Clinical Trials: Doctors and scientists at Northwestern University created a paper tool to teach people about clinical trials. They tested that tool with a diverse group of people. Northwestern is now working with members of the community and partners to turn the paper tool into an online tool. The online tool is called Health for All – Real Talk: Clinical Trials. The Health for All tool will help everyone make informed decisions about joining a clinical trial. The tool will also help people find clinical trials that they might want to join.
Advancing Library-Academic Medical Center Partnerships to Navigate Wellness and Scale Preventive Services Access
  • The Navigating Wellness project utilizes library partnerships to increase accessible preventive health information resources to underserved populations. 

Navigating Wellness: “Well Mama” Module

  • “Well Mama” creates accessible information and resources tailored to BIPOC pregnant women of color womxn.

ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group Membership

  • Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), is a multi-disciplinary, membership-based scientific organization that designs and conducts biomarker-driven cancer research involving adults who have or are at risk of developing cancer. As the Committee Chair and Co-investigator of the Health Equity Core of ECOG-ACRIN, Dr. Simon carries out the mission of ECOG-ACRIN by aiming to achieve research advances in all aspects of cancer care, thus reducing the burden of cancer and improving the quality of life in patients.

Precision Medicine Initiative (All of Us Research Program)

  • CHET is excited to provide leadership in the engagement plan of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program aimed at development of more precise treatments for many diseases and conditions. In collaboration with the University of Chicago, The University of Illinois at Chicago and the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services, LLC, this Illinois consortium will aim to engage 150,000 Illinois participants (RHLCC goal) in an effort to improve disease prevention and treatment measures based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.

US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Membership (2017-2020)

  • Dr. Melissa Simon recently completed service on a national task force that makes recommendations on clinical preventive services, including screenings, counseling, and preventive medications on topics such as cancer and diabetes. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)is an independent, volunteer panel of 16 national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine whose members come from many fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, behavioral health and nursing.

 Education and Training

T37 Northwestern University Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Training Program (NU-MHRT)

  • Health disparities research training opportunities for undergraduates through postdoctoral trainees who are paired with Northwestern faculty mentors. 

ChicagoCHEC Research Fellows Program

  • The ChicagoCHEC Fellows program seeks to increase the number of strong and diverse social, behavioral, and biomedical researchers and healthcare professionals. Thus the program is focused on the development of academic, technical, and professional skills in preparation for careers in social, behavioral, and biomedical research and in healthcare. During the intensive 8 week program, fellows will meet with leading scholars in basic, clinical, translational, prevention, control, behavioral, and population research from Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, as well as community leaders from across the Chicagoland area.

P50 -Northwestern University Uterine Leiomyoma Research Center Lab Immersion Program

  • The Northwestern University Uterine Leiomyoma Research Center Lab Immersion Program provides paid laboratory internship experiences for BIPOC students who may not have prior research experience, but are interested in receiving training for uterine leiomyoma (fibroids) research. Uterine fibroids are the most common tumor affecting African Americans. They cause irregular uterine bleeding, anemia, and have led to over 200,000 hysterectomies annually in the United States. Interns will work on research projects that explore the mechanisms responsible for the development and growth of uterine fibroids in order to reduce morbidity.

“Career911: Your Future Job in Medicine” – A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

  • We launched Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine & Healthcare in April 2015. Career 911 is the first MOOC of its kind out of the Feinberg School of Medicine, for students of all ages aspiring to become healthcare professionals.  This free online healthcare workforce development course plants the seed of possibility and lays the ground work for underrepresented and nontraditional students – and others who are interested in a career change.  

Health Equity Scholars Program

  • Volunteer program to work with CHET staff; it can be used for academic credits by request. This is a substantive experience to learn more about health inequities and how to apply creative problem-solving to complex social issues using intersectional approaches, as well as develop professional skills that enhance career development.

SkinnyTrees: Lift Health for All Podcast

  • Give voices to and bridge community and academic efforts to bring health equity to Chicago. SkinnyTrees aims to highlight voices of people from the research, community, and policy worlds who are doing work that advances health equity. By doing so, SkinnyTrees is creating an easy and accessible way for a larger audience to learn about the health equity work being conducted at Northwestern University and in the City of Chicago.

 Patient Navigation and Quality Improvement for the Medically Underserved

The OPTIMIZE Study: Optimizing Patient Navigation for Perinatal Care

  • Funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the OPTIMIZE research study tests an integrated perinatal care checklist with patient navigation support that aims to address the rapidly rising rates of maternal mortality and morbidity amongst Black and African American pregnant persons. The study aims to increase pregnant persons’ ability to attend their pre and postnatal visits, receive comprehensive care during and in between visits, and connect them to resources to address social determinant of health needs. Our Center is partnering with ACCESS Community Health Network and Alliance Chicago to plan and conduct this study in community health centers in Chicago, Illinois.

Chinatown Patient Navigation (PN) 2.0

  • In partnership with Mercy Hospital and the Chinese American Service League (CASL), we are expanding patient navigation to include both genders and all cancer types in Chinatown through a randomized intervention comparing traditional one-on-one navigation and checklist-based navigation.

4R Care Coordination for Patients with Cancer - Merck

  • Primary care in community health clinics is crucial yet patients facing a cancer diagnosis must seek care outside of this more familiar setting. Oftentimes when patients receive a new diagnosis of cancer, their primary care needs are markedly disrupted. Building on our Center’s extensive experience in community-engaged intervention research with providers and health systems addressing needs of medically underserved communities, and in partnership with Alliance Chicago, we have implemented a “4R” (Right Information, Right Care, Right Patient, Right Time) cancer care coordination project that responds directly to our local community health center partners’ needs and uses a care plan approach to help primary care providers and care coordinators ensure that their cancer patients receive the highest quality cancer care.

4R Care Coordination for Patients with Cancer - ECOG ACRIN Cancer Research Group

  • Simon is the current chair of the ECOG ACRIN Research Group’s Health Equity Committee. The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, a collaboration between the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) is a multidisciplinary, membership-based scientific organization that is dedicated to achieving research advances in all aspects of cancer care to reduce the burden of cancer and improve the quality of life and survival in patients with cancer. The Health Equity Committee of the ECOG ACRIN Research Group specifically ensures that racial justice and health equity are embedded within cancer clinical trials. These considerations include a broad definition of underserved populations, including adolescents and young adults, the elderly, racial/ethnic/gender minorities, and rural residents, allowing the committee to ensure that research efforts include a full representation and accrual of underserved groups.

 Womxn’s Reproductive and Maternal Health

Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development (WRHR) Program
  • As the Research Director for the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Center Development Program, Dr. Simon spearheads an outstanding research training program for the career development of obstetrician-gynecologists to become physician scientists who can conduct advanced translational research and compete for federal funds.

P20 - Northwestern University Cancer Health Equity Research SPORE (NU-CHERS)

  • Translational research program in partnership with Northwestern University and Stroger Hospital to identify and characterize gynecologic cancer health disparities between Black and white women via bench work, establishing a biobank and career force development to support a P50 grant submission focused on gynecologic cancer health disparities.

The OPTIMIZE Study: Optimizing Patient Navigation for Perinatal Care

  • Funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the OPTIMIZE research study tests an integrated perinatal care checklist with patient navigation support that aims to address the rapidly rising rates of maternal mortality and morbidity amongst Black and African American pregnant persons. The study aims to increase pregnant persons’ ability to attend their pre and postnatal visits, receive comprehensive care during and in between visits, and connect them to resources to address social determinant of health needs. Our Center is partnering with ACCESS Community Health Network and Alliance Chicago to plan and conduct this study in community health centers in Chicago, Illinois.

 Healthy Aging

RCMAR: The Intersection of Cancer and Culture: Financial Burden among Chinese and South Asian Elders with Malignancy in Chicago

  • Examine financial burden from cancer treatment in Chinese and South Asian elders cancer patients or survivors through semi-structured interviews.

 Food Insecurity and Sustainability

Food Pantry Initiative

  • CHET is in partnership with Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children's Hospital to start mini food pantries in clinics and hospitals across the hospital network by following the Food First model

CHET’s Kitchen

  • Series of hosted learning events that discussed food-related equity issues. Events focused on either sustainable eating or on the issue of food access and inequities in the City of Chicago. Participants were provided with credits to order a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) box from Star Farm Chicago.

The Center for Health Equity Transformation is a joint center between the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Institute for Public Health and Medicine.

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center logo Institute for Public Health and Medicine

Back to top

Follow CHET on