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California State University, Long Beach
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Spring 2015 News

Achieving Health Equity through Science, Community, and Collaboration

There have been great strides in improving the health of the U.S. population as a whole in the past several decades.  Yet, for many segments of the U.S. population, rates of obesity, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the same now as they were ten years ago.  Not surprisingly, disparities in disease rates are inextricably tied to social disadvantage, discrimination, exclusion, and geographic segregation.  The Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) recognizes that progress can only be made when disease is Health Equitystudied and understood within the social and structural contexts in which it occurs. Under the leadership of its new Director, Dr. Laura D’Anna, CHER conducts social and behavioral research and evaluation on health-related issues in partnership with community-based organizations throughout Long Beach to further its mission of “promoting health equity through science, community and collaboration.” 

At CHER, junior faculty and students receive mentorship to conduct health disparities research.  Most notably, CHER received a Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) grant from the National Institution on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to foster the next generation of leaders in public health research.  Over the last 5 years, 21 CSULB faculty and 20 graduate students participated as Research Faculty Fellows and Health Scholars, respectively, and published a total of 23 peer-reviewed papers.  As RIMI comes to a close, CHER continues to mentor students by serving as an internship site for both undergraduate and graduate programs at CSULB.  Interns at CHER gain hands-on experience with proposal writing, data collection, and data analysis.  As the lead on the evaluation of Building Healthy Communities Long Beach (BHCLB), a 10-year initiative funded by The California Endowment, CHER also provides its interns with opportunities to be involved in an innovative developmental evaluation approach that uses local, state, and national level data.  Preliminary results of the evaluation were presented at the 142nd annual American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting in New Orleans in November 2014. 

CHER continually seeks motivated students looking for experience in research and evaluation.  For internship opportunities, contact Carol Canjura at 562-985-2179 or