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Community Health Equity Research Priorities

At the Office of Health Equity Research, we want to prioritize research that addresses the most pressing community needs — as determined by the community. In 2021, we worked with community partners to identify five top priority health issues and inequities impacting the Rochester and Finger Lakes region. Our goal is to address each of these issues through focused research.



Improve access to safe, affordable housing.
High quality, safe, and affordable housing in neighborhoods that provide access to health-promoting features are crucial to improving our communities' health outcomes.


Mental Health & Substance Use

Promote well-being and resilience. 
Facilitate supportive environments that build well-being and resilience across the lifespan to prevent mental health and substance use disorders.



Prevent violence.
Violence is an urgent public health issue affecting people of all ages. It can lead to a lifetime of economic, emotional, and physical problems. Interventions are needed to keep people safe and healthy.



Decrease reincarceration rates through policy.
Creating policies that focus resources on helping people successfully complete community supervision and avoid returning to custody or supervision will create a steep path out of poverty for those affected.


Chronic Disease

Improve chronic disease prevention and management.
Implementing social and environmental interventions designed to address and prevent the root cause of chronic disease can benefit and protect individual people’s health and quality of life.

The Process

To identify these five focus areas, the Office of Health Equity Research started with a list of 15 possible community health-related issues. These issues appeared as common themes across the Monroe County Joint Community Health Improvement Plan, Finger Lakes Regional Community Health Assessment, Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative Policy and several other relevant documents.

Taking into account the need and feasibility of studying each issue, members of the URMC Community Advisory Council voted for the priorities they believed would have the most impact on health equity in our community.