Institute for Health Equity Research

All too often, underserved and non-white populations are the very last to benefit from the latest advancements in science and medicine. In the aftermath of centuries of racist and discriminatory policies and practices, these same communities live shorter lives and bear a heavier burden of common diseases like high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, cancer, mental illness, and COVID-19. Co-directed by two senior scientists, Carol Horowitz, MD, MPH, and Lynne Richardson, MD, the Mount Sinai Institute for Health Equity Research brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts to address the longstanding disparities in health and health care that are pervasive in our country. Our team conducts paradigm-shifting research to engage at-risk communities, facilitate access to life-changing resources, and inform life-saving interventions.

Our Mission

To examine the causes and magnitude of health and health care disparities affecting nonwhite, low-income, immigrant, uninsured, LGBTQ+, and other vulnerable populations across all ages, abilities, and genders in order to will devise, test, and implement innovative solutions to eliminate disparities in health while fostering long-term collaborations with community organizations and policymakers.

Systems are designed to bring about precisely the results they do, and when the results are not fair or equitable, systems must be redesigned. With the Institute for Health Equity Research, that is exactly what we are doing. It is only by learning from and with the people most affected by systemic inequities that we can shed light on health-related problems that disproportionately impact at-risk groups across disease areas, while factoring in race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, poverty, and place of residence. This impactful work will amplify the voices of those who have been silenced by systems of oppression as we strive to ensure a more equitable future for all.

The Four Core Areas

Eliminate disparities in how diseases are diagnosed and treated while embedding equity in all measurements of health care quality across the health system.

Optimize the health and lives of groups most significantly and unjustly impacted by racism, poverty, and other inequities through representative and durable community partnerships.

Investigate and address how biological, social, financial, neighborhood, and health care factors have contributed to poor health outcomes for racial, ethnic, and gender minorities, as well as socioeconomically and physically disadvantaged groups, across a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Transform the composition and focus of our research workforce to reflect the diversity of our society and ensure that all research is conducted through an equity lens. This IHER core includes the Center for Scientific Diversity at ISMMS (mssm.edu).

Why Health Equity Research Is Important

Health equity is the idea that everyone should have all of the resources needed to be healthy: nutritious food, stable housing, safe places to play and exercise, good education, fair-paying jobs, clean air & water, quality health care, and freedom from exploitation and racism.

Progress towards health equity requires that the myriad causes of health and health care disparities be understood and addressed.  Health equity research studies these issues within their naturally occurring social and structural contexts and allows the development of strategies, programs, and policies to eliminate barriers to health.

IHER Consultation Service

Are you working on research projects in diverse populations? Sign up for our Disparities Research Consultation Service to receive training in disparities research.

Opportunities and Awards

Definitions

  • Health Equity: Equity is the absence of avoidable, unfair, or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically or by other means of stratification. "Health equity” or “equity in health” implies that ideally everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential.
  • Health Disparities: Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.
  • CBPR: Community-based participatory research is a processthat involves community members or recipients of interventions in all phases of the research process.