About Us

In September 2004, NIH's National Center for Minority Health Disparities awarded the University $1.25 million over 3 years to create an EXPORT Center for minority health disparities. Consequently, in 2005 the university formally established a research center called the “Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities.” In May of 2009, CEMHD received an award of $6,820,730 from the NIH's National Institute for Minority Health Disparities to create a Center of Excellence (CoE) in minority health disparities. The CoE is now in its 5th year of funding and is preparing to apply for renewal funds.


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.

The mission of the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD) is to contribute to the elimination of minority health disparities in the smaller cities and towns of New York. 

We do this by using faculty research expertise in partnerships with communities, health care providers, and state and county departments of health. Together we work to identify community health concerns and sources of disparities, plan strategies to alleviate them, and test their effectiveness. Health care providers and other organizations can then adopt these strategies.

Goals and Objectives

The Center has the following goals:
  1. identifying community needs, focusing on barriers to utilization of prevention programs and health care; 
  2. conducting specific projects in partnerships with affected communities on the causes and solutions to health disparities; 
  3. increasing our knowledge of health disparities; and 
  4. increasing the quantity and quality of researchers working on health disparities. 
We work to achieve these goals by partnering with community groups, healthcare providers, county and state health departments, researchers at UAlbany and other institutions of higher education to assess community needs, goals and resources, and implement and test specific solutions.

Efforts to achieve these goals involve our core components, Research Training, Research, and Community Outreach and Engagement, in the following activities:
  • investigation of policies and programs that reduce health disparities; 
  • training of young researchers for health disparities work; 
  • improvement of lines of communication with minority communities; and 
  • strengthening the cultural competence of health providers. 
The goals of these actions are to improve healthcare access and utilization, and thereby health, in minority communities; distribute information on healthcare to minority communities; and begin specific community projects to improve health, and eliminate health disparities.

One of our major objectives is to become the hub for a statewide coalition to develop research capacity in faculty in upstate SUNY colleges and universities to address minority health disparities in New York's smaller cities and towns.

Community-Based Participatory Research Principle 

We believe that research and intervention concerning minority health disparities should involve communities as partners.  This kind of partnership research involves collaboration in defining problems, setting priorities, conducting research, implementing interventions to reduce health disparities, and in disseminating research results to benefit the larger communities of minority groups and academics across the country. 

 
Project 1: Promoting reproductive healthcare seeking among  African American women in a small town setting.  Researchers: Annis Golden; Matthew Matsaganis. Department of Communication.
Project 2: Environmental contaminants and reproductive health of Akwesasne Mohawk women. Researchers: Lawrence M. Schell, Department of Anthropology; Mia Gallo, CEMHD; David O. Carpenter, Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology.
Project 3: Decomposing racial/ethnic disparities in health. Researchers: Kajal Lahiri and Pinka Chatterji, Department of Economics 

UAlbany-funded Research Development Awards
Participating Communities

The Center seeks to engage local community groups, hospitals, and county departments of health as partners, while also fostering a state-level partnership with the New York State Department of Health.

Currently, communities that are formally collaborating with CEMHD in our primary research studies and minority health task forces are located in Albany, Askwesasne (St. Regis Mohawk Tribe), Hudson and Amsterdam. They were chosen because of their rich history of working with the University at Albany, their demographic composition, and their willingness to partner with UAlbany in this unique enterprise.

Faculty member with UAlbany-funded research development awards are also working with community groups in Schenectady, Albany, and Cooperstown.

As the Center develops, it will expand its activities to other cities north of New York City, including Binghamton, Poughkeepsie/Newburgh, Rochester, and Syracuse.