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by Abby Arcuri

During University Research Week, CHER hosted two events spotlighting health equity research. With many participants joining in person and virtually, we were able to spread information regarding our missions and ongoing projects.

Staff Voices

To kick off the week on October 23, 2023, CHER held a panel on “The Many Roles of Health Equity Research Staff: Perspectives and Experiences.”  On the panel were Shakira Flounory, Amanda Souto, Laura Florick and Breanna Williams.

By going over roles in each of their positions, they shared perspectives on a typical CHER employee’s day in their life. On a typical day, the panelists’ days vary. Tasks could include data collection, writing grants or promoting community engagement.

We also heard about the rewarding and challenging moments of their jobs. Flounory finds it fulfilling “seeing initial distrust of research and how that goes away as you work with minority populations.” However, she added that it’s challenging for her to “feel like a disruptor for some things when something isn’t feasible or the priority.”

All the panelists stressed that despite the challenging moments, they are still motivated by the work they do for others.

Finally, the panelists shared how they think community-engaged research can be done more effectively. Florick said she believes “genuine investment from those with influence in the community” will make projects more effective.

WATCH The Many Roles of Health Equity Research Staff

Focus on Equity Approaches

The next panel on October 25, 2023, was “Spotlighting Equity Approaches and Practices to Health Research.” This panel showcased the research of Leah Frerichs, Seth Berkowitz and Jada Brooks.

Each panelist was able to offer more specific details about their projects. With this insight, viewers hear various possibilities for research topics in health equity.

Panelists also talked about how they incorporate equity into their work. Brooks said it is essential to “have people be able to identify themselves as equal partners in the work.”

Having an equal relationship with community members in their research was a topic all of the researchers brought up. Berkowitz said it is essential to ensure anyone involved in the research is given “a real say and are partners in the projects.”

WATCH Spotlighting Equity Approaches and Practices to Health Research

After each panel, the floor was also opened for questions. Many asked how to get involved in research and incorporate health equity into their lives. Amanda Souto, a panelist from the first session, advises viewers to “get on the ground, go into congregations and talk to people.”

We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to University Research Week. We are always looking for ways to share health equity research.

Let us know what you would like to see!