Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities

Who We Are

CEMHD (Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities), is a collaborative effort focusing on minority health disparities in the smaller cities and towns of New York. We work toward eliminating health disparities by developing capacity in faculty at the University at Albany and partnering with community groups to identify their health concerns and the sources of disparities, and then plan, implement and test strategies to alleviate them. CEMHD is a partnership among community groups, hospitals, state and county health departments, the State of New York and the University at Albany.


CEMHD's focus on minorities and under-served populations in the smaller cities and towns of Upstate New York is premised upon the notion that health disparities found in these areas differ from those in the larger cities, and that the appropriate solutions will also differ. Since most of the research on minority health disparities, and the programs that have resulted from it, has focused on populations in large cities, relatively little is known about the distinct causes of poorer health among minorities in smaller cities. Therefore, another reason for our geographical emphasis is to fill in a gap in the research and to initiate and test the appropriate solutions.

Center News

"Stress, Trauma and Violence: What Can The University Do?"

CEMHD  will be hosting a World Cafe in collaboration with experts and community groups to address the problems of stress trauma and violence in the Albany community to begin developing collaborative solutions.

The event will be February 1st, 2017 in the Standish Room of the University's Science Library. Seating is limited, if you are interested in attending please send an email to to confirm availability.

During the Cafe, community and university faculty will meet in small groups to address the questions of what can the university do? Following group work, a small panel will comment on ideas from the groups and project the way forward. Food and beverages will be made available to attendees.

Amsterdam Minority Health Task Force: Health Promotion Initiative

The Amsterdam Minority Health Task Force is pleased to announce the health promotion initiatives in progress within the Amsterdam community. Through CEMHD, University at Albany faculty, and partnerships within St. Mary’s Hospital, the Task Force is in the process of organizing educational trainings, developing health literacy materials, and designing programs to meet community needs!! For more information please email us at

Five Presidential Doctoral Fellowships Awarded

Lawrence Schell, director of the Center for the Elimination of Health Disparities, at upper right, poses with the Presidential Doctoral Fellows for Research Training, left to right, Melissa Noel, Yajaira Cabrera-Tineo, Kaydian Reid, Wayne Lawrence and Erica Tyler. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

OCTOBER--The first five doctoral students to receive a Presidential Health Disparities Research Training Fellowship were announced in October. The five students -Yajaira Cabrera-Tineo from Counseling Psychology (Education), Melissa Noel from Criminal Justice, Kaydian Reid from Health Policy, Management & Behavior and Wayne Lawrence from Epidemiology & Biostatistics (both Public Health), and Erica Tyler from Anthropology (Arts and Sciences) — have very different fields of study and career goals. However, their constant is a shared commitment to eliminate disparities among minority populations.
The five UAlbany-supported fellows, who themselves are from minority/underrepresented groups, will be joined by others students through the $10 million National Institutes of Health endowment grant awarded the University and its Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD) in April of this year. Lawrence Schell, the director of the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities, said, "They are drawn from among the best students on the campus and are dedicated to applying the specialized skills and knowledge of their doctoral program to the very serious and national problem of health disparities."
The students will receive training for research and scholarship using transdisciplinary approaches, take courses to obtain a Health Disparities Certificate in semester-long experiential learning with different NGOs, departments of health and/or research groups, participate in professional societies related to health disparities, and be part of a local community health task force convened by CEMHD.

UAlbany Leads Landmark Public Engagement Initiative to Address Minority Health Disparities
$10 Million Endowment Grant from NIMHD Positions University as the Leading Northeast Hub for Health Disparities Education and Research

The endeavor is spearheaded by UAlbany’s Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD) with support through NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

The project aims to increase the research capacity of the university in health disparities by increasing the number of graduate students, faculty and researchers in health disparities from minority populations and underrepresented groups.

Key components of the program
The University at Albany will:

  1. Recruit and graduate 10 doctoral students from minority/underrepresented groups who will receive no-cost training for research and scholarship using transdisciplinary approaches, semester-long rotations with different NGOs, departments of health and/or research groups, and participation in professional societies related to health disparities;
  2. Recruit an Endowed Health Disparities Chair with nationally recognized expertise to anchor and lead the University’s research, training and community outreach endeavors in health disparities. The Endowed Chair will serve as a leader-catalyst in building a community of inclusive excellence spanning the health disparities disciplines, while at the same time, play a critical role in UAlbany’s plans to further diversify its campus community;
  3. Provide innovatative transdisciplinary health disparities education and training including the creation of new curricula to strengthen academic programs related to health disparities, a new master’s degree-level program focused on health disparities, and the establishment of an epigenetics lecture and laboratory course at the graduate level;
  4. Strengthen community outreach, engagement and action plans related to the development of health disparities education, research, practice and policy by supporting the CEMHD’s existing minority health task forces in Albany and Amsterdam, N.Y., and will create new health disparities task forces in other regions in the future; Host conferences, symposia and workshops on health disparities that attract national leaders in research health disparities as well as UAlbany students and faculty.

If you are a student interested in applying for the fellowship, more information is available here or in this printable brochure. 

 Please welcome the newest additions Tyler Garcia and Shanella Palmer and Johanna Hernandez community service and work-study students to the CEMHD team. Each student will be working during the 2016-2017 academic term and will assist the center in educational and clerical tasks, while learning about health disparities with a focus on minorities and under-served populations.







CEMHD is very pleased to announce some personnel additions.

Two outstanding people have joined CEMHD primarily to support the community engagement mission of the center. Each will be responsible for supporting the center’s engagement with the community health task forces in Albany and Amsterdam.


Lauren Dasen is currently a fourth-year student in the University at Albany’s Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. As a first-generation Panamanian/Cuban-American, Lauren’s interest in CEMHD is both personal and professional. Her academic research interests include investigating sociocultural determinants of mental and physical health among Latinos. She incorporates social justice principles into her teaching, research, and clinical work (which she conducts in both Spanish and English). Lauren would like to continue her involvement in these areas after graduation and promote health at both individual and community levels.                             

Raven Profit received a dual Bachelor's degree of Arts and Science from the University at Albany. Currently, she is a pre-medical post- baccalaureate scholar at the Sage Colleges. She also is a Consultant with two consulting firms in collaboration with the Federal Children’s Bureau where she conducts reviews of states NYTD and other Child Welfare data collection efforts. Prior to joining CEMHD, Raven studied medical Spanish terminology abroad in Santiago, Chile. Raven is an active participant in child welfare public health reform efforts and assists foster children by providing them with the tools and resources necessary to navigate the U.S. child welfare system. She is currently studying to become a licensed Physician and is interested in spearheading change in health outcomes through medicine and public health. She has been highlighted by UAlbany World of Difference, New York Daily News, Children’s Rights Magazine and CNN News.

Past Events and Community Activities