Online Program

Developing Health Equity Researchers in a Teaching-Focused Academic Institution

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Laura Hoyt D'Anna, DrPH, Center for Health Equity Research, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Dennis G. Fisher, PhD, Center for Behavioral Research and Services, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Mara Bird, PhD, NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Carol Canjura, Center for Health Equity Research, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
C. Kevin Malotte, DrPH, Health Science Department, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

Background: First generation-educated racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are gravely underrepresented in biomedical disciplines, including health equity research careers. Institutional and contextual barriers that underrepresented faculty and students face when pursuing biomedical research careers are formidable. However, academic institutions often lack the infrastructure and capacity to ameliorate these important issues.

Methods: CSULB received a NIMHD Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) grant to: enhance infrastructure and research capacity, conduct applied community health research on conditions disproportionately affecting disadvantaged populations, and institutionalize successful strategies for supporting underrepresented faculty and students in establishing research careers.  

Results: Twenty-one faculty members from 14 departments were supported to conduct independent research. Faculty were subsequently awarded 3 extramural grants (~$1mil). Faculty and leadership staff completed 23 manuscripts and 49 scientific presentations. Four faculty fellows received tenure and promotion, which they attribute directly to RIMI support. Twenty graduate students from 11 departments completed 16 conference poster presentations. All students attended a new Health Equity and Health Disparities Research in the U.S. course developed through this project. Five students were accepted to doctoral programs and 4 are in the process of applying. New multidisciplinary collaborations were formed across campus and with community partners.

Conclusions: Five years of progress in fostering faculty and student health equity researchers has helped bridge research silos on a large, diverse, teaching-focused campus.  These successes highlight the ongoing need to incorporate health equity research into the fabric of universities institutional missions.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the barriers to and innovative strategies for incorporating a health equity research agenda within a higher education institution with a mission entrenched in the value of teaching and student graduation rates. Formulate an understanding of how academic institutions can better support underrepresented faculty and students to engage in health equity research careers. Describe strategies for institutionalizing project successes beyond the life of the grant.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the director of the RIMI Project at California State University Long Beach,and I am involved in research infrastructure development across campus. I have worked directly with CSULB faculty to bring their health disparities research to fruition and have also mentored graduate students, most of whom are from underrepresented minority groups. I also have over twenty years of experience in the development, administration and evaluation of public and community health agencies and programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.