CSBS, LAS, and IHSI unite to expand health equity research at Illinois

College of LAS Associate Dean for Research Cari Vanderpool

The Center for Social & Behavioral Science (CSBS), College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Office of Research, and Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI) recently co-sponsored a Health Equity Research Collaboration Workshop. Aimed to increase interdisciplinary collaboration at Illinois, the workshop attracted nearly 80 researchers from more than 30 departments and 14 colleges and schools across campus. A video recording and workshop resources are available.

In her welcoming remarks, CSBS Director Eva Pomerantz emphasized the significance of health equity as a primary focus for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 initiative, defined as the attainment of the highest level of health for all people.

“They [HHS] highlight in this definition that achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities,” noted Pomerantz.

Pomerantz expressed her hope that the community at Illinois could contribute meaningfully to the advancement of health equity.

During the workshop, representatives from government relations consulting firm Lewis-Burke Associates discussed the national health equity funding landscape, including an introduction to Lewis-Burke, an overview of federal funding priorities around health disparities and health equity, and related resources and programs within the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation.

Attendees gather during the Health Equity Research Collaboration Workshop

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session and breakout discussions designed to help attendees  make interdisciplinary connections and identify research priorities to support future health equity research efforts. Breakout discussion topics focused on health equity as it relates to racism, sex and gender, data science and AI, cancer, environmental factors, mental health, and health care access and quality.

In closing remarks, IHSI Senior Director for Research and Core Development Gillian Snyder acknowledged the challenges of navigating research funding opportunities and reminded attendees that staff at CSBS, IHSI, and the Office of Research in LAS are available to help investigators identify funding opportunities and bring together teams.

“We are going to have to start getting creative in ways that we think about going after research funding, and there are a lot of supplemental funding opportunities coming out of the NIH in the diversity and inclusion space,” noted Snyder. “If you already have a grant through NIH, I encourage you to consider opportunities for supplemental funding to bring in more community members and increase diversity within your team.”

To continue building momentum around health equity research, the LAS Office of Research is supporting the development of proposals for a health equity cluster hire.

Get Connected

CSBS is dedicated to supporting innovative social and behavioral science to address major societal challenges. The center provides a wide range of research development services (e.g., sample proposals, comprehensive grant reviews), programming to enhance the campus research ecosystem (e.g., methods workshops, topical gatherings), and public engagement programming. Please contact Kaylee Lukacena for research support and to make connections with potential collaborators. Subscribe to the CSBS e-newsletter to learn more about center activities and services, education programs, and workshops.

IHSI’s Research Development core works directly with Illinois investigators to expand health sciences research. The team provides proposal development support, offers grant seeking workshops and resources, and coordinates campuswide responses to local and national funding priorities. Please contact Maggie Berg to discuss partnership and support for your research project. Subscribe to the IHSI e-newsletter to learn more about core activities and services, programs, workshops, partnership opportunities, and more.

LAS Office of Research is the college’s hub for engagement with the University of Illinois research enterprise and supports LAS researchers in applying for and obtaining funding, carrying out their scholarly work through writing and publication, and receiving recognition for their research and scholarship. For more information, contact Associate Dean for Research Cari Vanderpool at cvanderp@illinois.edu.

Written by Hannah Wirth