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Message from the Directors

Welcome to the Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR) website.

In 2012, CHEIR was established with a five year grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). We focus on developing and testing clinical and community interventions to improve the health and health care of people and eliminate health disparities across Massachusetts.

We are proud to bring together two campuses of the University of Massachusetts: UMass Worcester and UMass Boston. CHEIR researchers from these two campuses synergistically combine their expertise in the areas of public health, medicine, psychology, nursing, cultural anthropology, sociology, biostatistics and informatics. Our community partners include the Worcester Women, Infant and Children program, the Family Health Center of Worcester, the Lowell Community Health Center, Mosaic Cultural Complex (Mosaic) and the Springfield Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC), all in Massachusetts.

Our overarching principles are:
  • Developing interventions such as storytelling that are tailored by deep cultural structure as well as the linguistic and literacy characteristics of the populations we focus on;
  • Engaging vulnerable populations in the settings that serve them, moving beyond the clinical setting;
  • Focusing on strategies that engage the full spectrum of helpers available to patients;
  • Infusing education and bi-directional academic-community learning throughout all activities.
CHEIR is committed to creating educational opportunities for future health disparities researchers. Our Education Core page describes our center's Health Equity Scholars Program (HESP).
The primary projects funded through CHEIR are testing the impact of narrative-based interventions. Specific projects include:
  • A multi-media campaign that uses community narratives to promote mother-child communication about sexuality and sexual health protection in a Puerto Rican community
  • A new approach that incorporates the weight loss stories of women along with evidence-based weight loss strategies to facilitate post-partum weight loss among diverse low income new mothers
  • An innovative adaptation of the community health-worker model that uses patients' stories to support hypertension management.
As CHEIR grows, we have extended our work to include other local and global projects, including: We welcome your inquiries and ideas for projects that may effectively contribute to prompting health equity across Massachusetts and beyond.
We invite you to explore our website and get involved in the work of CHEIR!

- Jeroan Allison, MD, MS and Milagros C. Rosal, PhD

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