Institute for Social and Health Equity
Addressing disparities and inequities through research and collaboration
The Institute for Social and Health Equity (ISHE) leverages the University at Albany’s research strengths to promote social and health equity.
With a strong foundation of interdisciplinary research partnerships, ISHE advances UAlbany’s research, scholarship, training and community engagement to address longstanding social and health inequities affecting historically marginalized individuals and communities.
ISHE builds upon the work of UAlbany’s successful centers and projects as well as our existing network of partners, researchers and community organizations.
UAlbany’s Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD) is now housed under the ISHE umbrella. The Institute continues the Center’s partnership with communities, health care providers, health departments and the State of New York, among others, to better understand and confront health disparities among underserved populations.
Through support from the University, the Hearst Foundation and a $10 million Endowment from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and its National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the Center oversees a variety of health disparities initiatives, such as a speaker series, task forces and the Presidential Health Disparities Doctoral Fellowship Program.
CEMHD’s Doctoral Fellowship Program has funded doctoral students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including epidemiology, public health, counseling psychology, criminal justice, sociology, health policy, management and behavior, biomedical sciences and anthropology. CEMHD’s Health Disparities Fellows all complete the Health Disparities Graduate Certificate Program as part of their transdisciplinary training, a 12-credit certificate designed to improve cultural competence and leadership skills as students gain knowledge of causes, relevant issues and potential strategies for eliminating health disparities.
The Institute furthers the work of the “Differential Impacts of COVID-19” project. This project identified and addressed health disparities that worsened the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for Black and Hispanic New Yorkers. The project brought together a network of UAlbany researchers tasked with examining the social, economic and environmental dimensions causing such health disparities.
ISHE brings together researchers exploring topics such as disparities in maternal and childhood health, healthy aging, emergency management, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, exposure to environmental toxins, as well as social services that support vulnerable populations.
"Understanding the drivers that underly and perpetuate these disparities, and developing strategies to mitigate them, requires a cross-cutting approach that includes building partnerships within and beyond the University."
Thenkurussi (Kesh) Kesavadas
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
ISHE provides a home for interdisciplinary research collaborations and community-engaged scholarship. The Institute offers services to support researchers and research partners, including ongoing opportunities for collaboration, dedicated grant writing expertise, consulting on research proposals, mock panels to help further develop these proposals, and seed grant funding for projects with strong external funding potential.
Signature events, such as the President’s Forum on Health Disparities, and regular programming promote research and foster collaboration among researchers and community partners working toward social and health equity. Programs include an invited speaker series, interdisciplinary working groups and coffee hours. Grant writing support and training sessions are also available for participants looking to develop skills that advance social and health equity research.
Through fellowships and seed grant funding, ISHE supports research focused on understanding and addressing social and health inequities. CEMHD Fellows have furthered public health research, focusing on health disparities and inequities. ISHE offers structural and financial support for such research efforts as well as training opportunities for faculty and students seeking to develop and deepen their research skills on topics and methods related to social and health equity.
The Institute will coordinate research interest groups (RIGs) to bring together researchers working on related issues across disciplines. Several research interest groups have already been spearheaded:
In partnership with UAlbany’s AI Plus Initiative, ISHE takes an AI-driven approach to social and health equity research. AI Plus leverages artificial intelligence to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges in cybersecurity, climate science, emergency preparedness and health sciences.
ISHE also collaborates with the BILPOC Faculty Advancement Initiative to support efforts to improve faculty diversity through hiring, retention, and promotion of current UAlbany faculty who identify as people of color.
Director Paul L. Morgan is an Empire Innovation Professor and Social and Health Equity Endowed Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior at UAlbany’s School of Public Health.
Dr. Morgan’s primary research empirically investigates social determinants of health and well-being during early and middle childhood, minority health disparities in disability diagnosis and treatment, and disparities in early STEM learning.