Health Disparities Research (HDR) at GSU
From Project EXPORT to HDR: College of Health and Human Services Research and the Community
In 2002, Governors State University began to move away from its traditional role as a teaching institution and incorporated a new emphasis on faculty research into its strategic plan. For the College of Health and Human Services, this focus on research was an opportunity to expand its role as a community resource, and to particularly serve minority and vulnerable populations in the Chicago Southland.
The College adopted as its agenda for research the reduction and elimination of health disparities. In order to accomplish this, the College adopted a community-based research model, which means research is undertaken in and with the input and cooperation of the community. By using this approach, problems the community finds important are addressed, with both the research process and results benefiting the community.
Initial funding for the College’s health disparities research agenda came in 2003 through the College’s Centers of Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training grant – known more colloquially as Project EXPORT.
Project EXPORT, like Health Disparities Research (HDR), was funded through the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD). Also like HDR, the Project EXPORT award was for support for the development of health disparities research and capacity. The $1,044,000 grant allowed the College to create a significant presence in the community and to undertake what would become award-winning research.
As Project EXPORT at Governors State closed in September of 2006, NCMHD announced its award of a five-year, $5 million "Building Capacity in Health Disparities Research" grant to the College of Health and Human Services.
With HDR funding, the College is continuing its evolution into a health disparities research center for the south suburban region. It has incorporated a new mentoring and support element under HDR that will match Governors State researchers with mentoring researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an established and well-respected research institution. This relationship will help bring the College of Health and Human Services and Governors State University to the fore as instruments for eliminating health disparities in the region. This is in keeping with Governors State University's mission to serve the underserved and to make for a better community through accessible resources and responsive efforts.