Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) Institute

The CHER Institute 2019

Now in its third year, the CHER Institute is proud to offer a program aiming to enhance the readiness of early career faculty at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to conduct community-based, social and health behavior research and to increase their representation among National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigators.

We are excited about this year's group of early career faculty who attended the summer 2019 CHER Institute, which was held June 3 to June 8, 2019. If you are interested in applying to the 2020 institute, please review the information on this page, and subscribe to the CHER Institute Mailing list. The 2020 CHER Institute application pages will be accessible beginning in the fall of 2019.

Previous Institutes


CHER Institute 2018

Last year, faculty across the U.S. convened at CSULB to participate in the six-day, intensive research training experience. Participants received mentorship by a team of nationally-recognized social and health behavior research experts, some of whom host webinars to provide additional training to faculty participants and others who are interested in health equity research.

CSULB President Dr. Jane Close Conoley welcomed our new cohort of researchers from across the country. As the former Dean at Texas A&M, Dr. Conoley recalled starting what was then called the Center for Health Disparities, and how the work being done by diverse, interdisciplinary groups exactly like the CHER Institute represents the future of the field; and how "policy implications for health disparity issues are tremendous."

CSULB College of Health and Human Services Dean Dr. Monica Lounsbery also spoke to the group of visiting scholars. While the focus of the Institute as a whole centers on educating and empowering new researchers to secure NIH funding, Dr. Lounsbery also stressed the importance of interdisciplinarity:

“As you'll learn, it's really important to understand the focus of your work and how you may serve as a team member not only for your own research but as a connector for others as well. So it's really important to use this opportunity fully, and I really am excited that you're having a lot of opportunity for dialogue and interaction.”

Dr. Lounsbery talked about how this approach echoes President Conoley’s initiatives across campus:

“No Barriers. Closing the Gap. And really growth mindset. This whole workshop is about professional development, and even those of us who are participating as instructors are learning every day. So I hope that you adopt the idea that mentorship is important… it's important to think about that across the trajectory of your career. Because I really believe that's what sustains high level successful careers over a lifetime.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CHER Institute?

The CHER Institute is comprised of plenary sessions, seminars, small group science chats, mentoring activities, and peer review and networking sessions designed to increase the number of early career faculty members who are better prepared to become NIH principal investigators in the field of community-based health equity research; and to increase the quantity and quality of health equity research targeting vulnerable ethnic minority populations developed by CHER Institute participants.

Plenary session topics include:
•Components of an NIH application and review process
•Responsible conduct and ethics in research particularly in engaging minors in health equity research
•Integrating theory for culturally sensitive intervention research
•Engaging ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities in health disparities research
•Research process including quantitative and qualitative methods and analysis
•Innovations in research, community engagement, and community-based research
•Overcoming institutional and logistical challenges

Feedback from last year’s participants was overwhelmingly positive. Participants shared that they were equipped with new ideas and motivation to pursue their own research endeavors. High appreciation was given to the diversity of research experiences of the faculty mentors and of program deliverables, which included a Specific Aims Page to be used as a foundation for future proposals. The CHER Institute provided a valuable learning experience for them and a large majority would recommend the institute to their colleagues.

Who is eligible?

The CHER Institute is designed for early career scientists at MSIs. Interested early career faculty at non-MSI institutions will be accepted based on their research foci and space availability. Eligible scientists must be in tenure-track positions but not have obtained R01 funding from the NIH, or equivalent funding from another agency. Participants should be conducting (preferred) or committed to community based, social and health behavior research to enhance health equity among racial and ethnic minority populations.

1. Administrative Eligibility Criteria

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Tenure-track faculty member status at an eligible institution. (Individuals from non-MSIs may apply, but priority will be given to those from MSIs. A list of Title III and Title V eligible MSI institutions is available from the U.S. Department of Education ( Please use the list from the most current year.
  • Affiliation with an institution that is eligible to receive federal money
  • Eligible to be a principal investigator at home institution
  • Completion of a terminal research degree or medical residency—whichever date is later—within the past 10 years
  • No previous NIH funding as the principal investigator of a R01 grant
  • No delinquent student loans
  • Not a current recipient of an NIH training award (e.g., NIH K award)

2. Program Eligibility Criteria

Required - To be selected for the program, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she:

  • Is committed to community-based, social and health behavior research to eliminate health disparities among racial/ethnic minority populations
  • Has experience conducting research and publishing scientific manuscripts
  • Is able to commit to attend the full six-day summer session

Preferred - The most competitive applicants will also demonstrate:

  • Experience conducting community-based social and health behavior research
  • History of obtaining funding for research (e.g., small or exploratory grants, including state, local, and university grants)
  • Experience conducting research in communities and with community-based organizations targeting populations with high levels of health disparities (e.g., racial and ethnic minority communities, communities with a high proportion of disadvantaged or disabled persons)

What is my commitment?

When applying, you will be asked to commit to the following:

  1. Attend the full 6-day program in Long Beach without absences
  2. Complete daily evaluations while attending the institute and an annual evaluation
  3. Provide the program office with information regarding your professional development and accomplishments following completion of the program. At a minimum, we will ask you to submit an updated CV each year that includes grant awards and publications.

Is there a fee to participate?

No! In fact, there is no cost for attending the Institute, hotel accommodations will be provided, and you will receive a stipend to cover travel and meal expenses while participating in the Institute. (Please note: Per the CSU Controller’s Office, Division of Finance and Administration, expenses for food, lodging, and travel within 25 miles of a California State University employee’s workplace or residence cannot be reimbursed.)

How do I apply?

Applications for the 2019 institute

are now closed. Applications for the June 2020 institute will be accessible beginning in the Fall of 2019.

CLICK to subscribe to the CHER Institute mailing list

The following information is required to apply.

  • An application including demographic information
  • A current CV that includes a list of publications and grants awarded
  • A summary of proposed research describing a pilot study that you would like to further develop as a potential grant proposal. The summary must include a brief discussion of the significance of the problem; proposed research question(s); any preliminary work; and the anticipated data collection methods. This project will be used to develop a Specific Aims page for an NIH proposal during the six-day Institute (not to exceed 2 pages).
  • A description of previous training with qualitative and quantitative research methods, software, and analysis (not to exceed 1000 words).
  • Two letters of recommendation received by the program application due date

Preparing the pieces of your application:

Please open and review the web-based application in advance, then prepare all of the documents you will need. The application is brief, and you will not be able to save partially completed applications. Be prepared to complete all sections and upload all necessary documents before attempting to fill out and submit your online application. You will need to upload the following documents in MS Word format or as Adobe PDF files as part of your CHER Institute Application:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Proposed Research Summary
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods Experience

Additional information describing each document is provided within the application.

Additionally, you will need to submit two letters of recommendation. Preferably these will be uploaded at the time of applying, but they may also be sent by mail/email separately. They must, however, be received by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

For any technical questions, concerns, or issues submitting this form, please contact: Jeff Wood TEL: (562) 985-2176.

Should I apply if I am not part of a minority or health disparities population?

Yes! The only requirement is that the faculty member is interested in doing research to benefit these populations.

Is the selection process competitive?

Yes! This is an intensive research educational experience, therefore we are only able to select up to 15 participants per year. Thus, all applications will be reviewed by the CHER Institute Leadership Team. The committee will rate applications on the following categories:

  • Demonstrated commitment to community-based, social and health behavior research to eliminate health disparities among racial/ethnic minority populations (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, etc.);
  • Demonstrated experience conducting research and publishing scientific manuscripts;
  • Demonstrated experience conducting community-based social and health behavior research;
  • History of obtaining funding for research (e.g., small or exploratory grants, including state, local, and university grants);
  • Experience conducting research in communities and with community-based organizations targeting populations with high levels of health disparities (e.g., racial and ethnic minority communities, communities with a high proportion of disadvantaged or disabled persons).

The review committee will consist of five members of the CHER Institute Leadership Team. Each application will be reviewed by no fewer than two reviewers.

Who are the CHER Institute Faculty?

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities and women, have been selected to serve as CHER Institute Faculty. Some of these faculty members come from institutions with significant NIH support and others come from MSIs leading to a range of experiences and barriers in navigating institutional support. Together, CHER Institute Faculty have a breadth of research experience in the areas of: health equity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, sexual health within adolescent and ethnic and sexual minority populations, applied biostatistics, innovative web-based and diary data collection strategies, and community-based participatory research methods. In each case, faculty members were selected based on their scholarly contributions to their respective specialty focus within the broad fields of public health and health equity. Other faculty members may be recruited based on changing needs and interest in topics over time, and not all faculty members may be present at each week-long Institute.



Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Dean for Community Initiatives
Professor, Preventative Medicine
The Keck School of Medicine of the
University of Southern California
Roshan Bastani, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management
Co-Director, Center to Eliminate Health Disparities
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Ricky N. Bluthenthal, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Prevention Research
The Keck School of Medicine of the
University of Southern California
Dorothy C. Browne, Dr.PH
Provost, Bennett College
Professor Emerita, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Bennett College &
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Laura D’Anna, Dr.PH
Director, Center for Health Equity Research &
CHER Institute
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Science
California State University, Long Beach
Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., M.S.
Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Section of Adolescent Medicine
Indiana University School of Medicine
Nina T. Harawa, Ph.D., MPH
Co-Director, Policy Impact Core at CHIPTS
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, &
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Matthew Mutchler, Ph.D.
Director and Professor, Urban Community Research Center
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Fernando Wagner, D.Sc., MPH
Professor, School of Social Work
University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Thomas Alex Washington, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Social Work
Co-Director, CHER Institute
California State University, Long Beach

For questions about the Institute or application process, please contact: Carol Canjura, Administrative Coordinator

First Annual CHER Institute: 2017