Center for Health and Social Inequality Research
Our mission is to promote and conduct collaborative, inter-disciplinary research that will advance understanding of how social institutions and processes facilitate or impede the health and well-being of all groups in society. The Center, housed in the Department of Sociology, draws on the unique strengths of researchers who are committed to expanding the understanding of the causes and consequences of social inequities, and providing policy-relevant research to reduce them.
It is well-established that the social conditions under which people live are profound determinants of their health. Commonly recognized determinants include income and social status, personal support networks, education and literacy, employment/working conditions, social and physical environments and culture. While it is documented that individuals in various socio-economic groups experience differing health outcomes, there are still many gaps to understanding these specific factors and mechanisms as well as translating knowledge into policy changes and improved social and health outcomes.
Research activities are organized in five clusters: education; health; immigration; neighborhoods; social and criminal justice; and social and environmental sustainability. The Center has four core areas: administration, research, research training, and community engagement.
- Excellence in Community-University Partnerships, 2009: the Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition: Photo includes: Margaret Everett with Meg Merrick, PSU's Institute of Metropolitan Studies: Sonia Manhas and Olivia Quiroz, Multnomah County Health Department; and Suzanne Briggs, Kaiser Permanente NW
The Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition is a dynamic interdisciplinary community-university partnership that is achieving local recognition for innovative work towards a healthier built environment and public policies to reduce the disproportionately high rate of obesity in low income and minority communities, particularly among children. This on-going effort has engaged PSU faculty and students in community-based participatory research that has empowered the Portsmouth Latino community through collaborative problem-solving and health promotion.
- Excellence in Community-Based Research, 2009: Peter Collier
Principles of social justice and social sustainability demand improvement of degree completion rates for underserved groups like first-generation students. Yet while first-generation college student enrollment increases, their academic success and retention rates remain low. The Students First Mentoring Program (SFMP) is a targeted intervention that promotes first-generation student success through expertise development and mentoring. During their program participation years, SFMP freshmen demonstrate higher yearly retention, average GPA, and number of credits earned rates than "all other PSU Freshmen."
- Excellence in Community-Based Research, 2006: Matthew Carlson
The main purpose of Dr. Carlson's research, "The Impact of Changes in the Oregon Health Plan on Health Care Access and Policy," in collaboration with the Oregon Office of Health Policy and Research and Providence Health System's Center for Research and Evaluation, is to evaluate the effects of the loss of health benefits on low-income Oregonians.