Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research

Our mission at the Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research (CHECER) is to promote health equity locally, nationally and globally by creating evidence to guide policy decisions and preparing investigators to conduct health equity and community engaged research that improves health and health care.


Inequities in health and health care are pervasive and costly. To redress disparities and achieve health equity requires change within and beyond the healthcare delivery system. At CHECER, we seek to discover, analyze and bridge diversity in behavior, biology, and the built environment across priority populations to improve health and health care.

What We Do

The Center—a hub for ISMMS researchers who are interested in health equity, health disparities, and community-engaged research—provides infrastructure to support their work and foster collaborations across divisions, departments, institutes, community-based organizations, and clinical entities. CHECER's diverse and multi-disciplinary faculty have a rapidly expanding regional, national, and international collaborative research portfolio covering numerous program areas and methodologies.

CHECER’s research portfolio focuses on biologic, translational, social determinant and novel delivery system changes. Here are some highlights:

Research Areas Methods Used Priority Populations
Cancer Mixed (Qual/ quant) Racial/Ethnic Minorities


CBPR Low income
Care coordination QI Undereducated
Chronic disease RCTs Underserved
Prevention/Control Comp Effect Research LGBT
Emergency Medicine Behavior change Pregnant women
Environmental Health Implementation Youth/adolescents
Genomics App development  
Geriatrics Systems change  
Global health Large datasets  
Maternal & child health Health Systems Analysis  
Quality & Safety    

Molecular Biology, Translational Genomics and Disparities:

  • Community partnered research investigating the role of genetic variants in the development of chronic kidney disease among African Americans with hypertension as well as the impact and outcomes of feeding back genomic information to physicians and patients.
  • The obesity epidemic, a major issue in the black community, coupled with the finding that insulin resistant mice developed larger tumors with more metastases faster than wild-type mice sparked our investigators to research whether insulin resistance, a byproduct of obesity, explains some of the racial disparities in aggressive breast cancer.

Social Determinants and Disparities

  • Research in Kenya testing whether micro financing has a greater impact on hypertension control than medical and other health behavioral interventions.
  • Testing novel strategies to reduce positive depression screens and extend breastfeeding rates among postpartum women of color.

Novel Delivery System Changes, Policy and Disparities

  • Partnership with Medical Managed Care health insurer to develop and test interventions aimed at improving care and reducing disparities among high risk postpartum women.
  • Studies examining the contribution of hospital quality to racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and infant outcomes. 
  • Testing whether closing multi-specialty referral loops improves cancer treatment rates in safety-net hospitals.
  • Research that examines the impact of Health Homes on diabetes outcomes.
  • Designing an app with community members to reduce pre-diabetes in East Harlem.
  • Research to answer whether improving communication impacts utilization and patient satisfaction among advanced cancer populations in different delivery systems.
  • Studies examining social policy and its impact on birth outcomes.

CHECER is funded by an expanding number of state, foundation and federal (NIH, DOD, CDC, AHRQ, PCORI, RWJF) grants, including one of the five centers of Mount Sinai's CTSA and Conduits. We aim to further build our community engagement and research capacity.

Commitment to diversity

We work with the Faculty Diversity Council which addresses diversity in recruitment, retention, and advancement of faculty and actively involved with Executive Diversity Leadership Council which oversees diversity efforts across the Mount Sinai Health System. We are in process of implementing a Disparities Dashboard that will guide future interventions and personalize care delivery to diverse populations.