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Office of Health Equity Research

Office of Health Equity Research Director Edith Williams, Ph.D., works at a whiteboard with Sanjukta Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.

Our local community, like communities across the nation, suffer tremendous health inequities that are driven by fundamental structural issues, like systemic racism. The Office of Health Equity Research (OHER) aims to go beyond documenting these inequities to develop and effectively disseminate interventions that ensure health equity. The office supports and synergizes research and training to improve the health of the most vulnerable residents of Rochester and beyond.



Research Priorities

With community partners, we have identified health inequities impacting our region to address through focused research.


Office News

Stay up to date on the latest news, events, announcements, and job opportunities from the Office of Health Equity Research.


Watch the OHER Strategic Planning Retreat Keynote Address

On April 10, the Office of Health Equity Research held its inaugural Strategic Planning Retreat, featuring a keynote address by the internationally renowned social scientist David R. Williams, PhD, of Harvard University. If you missed the retreat, you can watch Williams' keynote, "Reducing Racial Inequities in Health: The Fierce Urgency of Now," below. You can also view the keynote slides and get a comprehensive recap of the entire retreat on the UR CTSI Stories blog. 

Our Mission

The office is part of the fifth pillar of URMC’s Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan, which aims to establish URMC as a national leader in health equity research and education, specifically focusing on the impact of racism on health and development. The office will support innovative health equity research across URMC to foster a deeper understanding of the root causes of health disparities and the burdens experienced by excluded groups, and to facilitate the translation of findings into more equitable care.

We are particularly focused on five high priority areas defined by our community:

  • improving access to safe and affordable housing,
  • violence prevention,
  • chronic disease prevention and management,
  • decreasing re-incarceration through policy,
  • and promoting well-being to prevent mental health and substance use disorders.

The office is currently assessing the health equity education needs and research capacity at URMC and actively collaborating with community partners to determine the health equity research direction for URMC. In the future, the office plans to support researchers by providing pilot funding, promoting new research partnerships and developing training and technical resources.

Our People

Edith Williams, PhDOHER founding director, Edith Williams, Ph.D., has a background in Epidemiology and Community Health with a robust research program primarily focused on disease outcomes among Black/African American women with lupus. Williams has set the strategic vision for the office and is building it as a central resource for health equity researchers across the University of Rochester.

OHER’s strength also lies in its diverse and committed community of collaborators, which is founded upon the voluntary membership of over 130 health equity research faculty from across the university. These faculty members represent a variety of disciplines: nursing, environmental medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, psychiatry, oral health, immunology and rheumatology, pediatrics, and public health.