Category Archives: News

“Beneficial but Constrained” article led by Kaufman fellow, Subhashni Raj, published in Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition

The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is pleased to share the release of a new article “Beneficial but Constrained: Role of Urban Agriculture Programs in Supporting Healthy Eating Among Youth” published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. The article, led by Subhashni Raj, Kaufman fellow at the University at Buffalo, explores how youth engagement in urban agriculture affects their fruit and vegetable consumption, controlling for neighborhood level influences.The authors use a pre-post research design and advanced regression analysis to analyze the efficacy of urban agriculture programming in improving fruit and vegetable consumption among urban youth in Buffalo, NY. The findings suggest that efficacy of urban agriculture programming has some effect on youth food behavior but its effect is moderated by economic and systemic constraints prevalent in neighborhoods the youth come from. To make urban agriculture efficacious as a healthy eating tool, public policy supports must simultaneously address economic and systemic constraints in society. The paper concludes with suggestions of how local governments can help make urban agriculture programs efficacious.

See link to access to article:

A number of efforts to alleviate low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption among youth in the United States have emerged in recent years. This study examines how engagement in urban agriculture (UA) programming influences fruit and vegetable consumption among urban youth in Buffalo, New York. Results indicate change in some food behaviors—youth are willing to try new foods—but not others. Results suggest that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with gender and the median household income of neighborhoods where youth live. The study demonstrates that UA programming is beneficial but not sufficient in engendering healthy eating behavior in youth.

Agents of Change article by Food Lab alum Maryam Khojasteh released in Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition

The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is pleased to announce the release of a new article in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition.  By Maryam Khojasteh and Samina Raja, ‘Agents of Change: How Immigrant-Run Ethnic Food Retailers Improve Food Environments’ documents the factors that enable immigrant entrepreneurs to operate healthy food stores in urban neighborhoods. The authors use in-depth interviews to highlight how Middle Eastern food entrepreneurs are changing the healthy food landscape in Buffalo, NY.  Findings suggest that ethnic food retail entrepreneurs are positively deviant in the urban food system, becoming positive agents of change by successfully provided fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods with low food access.  Although ethnic food entrepreneurs overcome numerous documented barriers, they have significant potential to improve neighborhoods who are not served by other healthy food retail. The article concludes with suggestions for how local government policy makers, planners, and public health practitioners can better support immigrant ethnic food entrepreneurs. With the right policy supports, healthy ethnic food stores can be a source of economic and community development for both immigrant and non-immigrant neighborhoods. Click on the link below to read the full article.

Agents of Change How Immigrant Run Ethnic Food Retailers Improve Food Environments

Article Abstract:

Immigrant-run ethnic food retail stores, which are often located in urban neighborhoods, are reported to provide healthy foods. Yet, there is little research on how these stores manage to operate successfully in low-resource environments, which are reported to have poor access to healthy foods, and the challenges they must overcome in a broken food system. Based on a qualitative pilot case study of Middle Eastern stores in Buffalo, New York, the authors report factors that enable immigrant entrepreneurs to operate healthy food retail stores in low-income urban neighborhoods and the challenges they must overcome in the process. Factors for success include store owners’ membership in ethnic networks, prior business experience, and understanding of niche market opportunities. This article reports policy suggestions for how local governments can help ethnic food retailers to create healthier food environments and foster economic and community development.

BPS School Garden Fair

Buffalo Public School District is hosting a School Garden Fair to celebrate School Garden Month in May. The fair will highlight the incredible work happening at their twenty schools with school gardens.  This family friend event will be an opportunity to meet the dedicated teachers, staff, and parents who work with students in school gardens, hear from the students about what they are growing, and learn about opportunities for getting involved in your school’s garden.  The host school garden, Pelion Community Garden, is a stunning example of how to incorporate the garden into curriculum for all ages, provide outdoor learning experiences for students, and engage with the greater school community.

Family friendly activities will include:

Outrageous Sunhat Contest
Grow A Salad
Petal Rubbing Art
Smelling Tours
Sidewalk Drawing
Yoga for Kids
The Worm Petting Zoo
Seed Give-a-Ways

The event is happening at Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School on Wednesday, May 25th, from 4-6pm. The garden is located at 206 Best St., Buffalo, NY.  Visit their Facebook page to stay up to date about the exciting activities planned.

Keynote by Dr. Samina Raja at SUNY Cortland

Dr. Samina Raja will give a keynote on the role of communities in shaping local government food systems plans and policies. The talk will be held on April 11, 2016 at Sperry 104, SUNY Cortland. For more information, go to:

Published 04.10.2016

UB Recognizes Community Engagement Activities

The UB Reporter recently printed a story on the university’s recognition of community engagement activities. Dr. Samina Raja and the Food Lab were recognized for their ongoing partnership with the Massachusetts Avenue Project to raise community awareness about the Buffalo’s food system. Read the full article below.

 UB recognizes community engagement activities


Published March 10, 2016

“Each of you, our honorees, embodies our mission as a public research university — serving the greater public good through your contributions. ”
Provost Charles F. Zukoski

The projects range from rebuilding Buffalo’s food system and improving the breast cancer screening rates for inner city women to helping city high school students complete their FAFSA forms and bringing dental care to rural communities.

These community engagement activities, notes Provost Charles Zukoski, “build important relationships and enhance university research and education.”

Six members of the UB community working with community partners to realize these and other significant needs in the community are the first recipients of the Excellence in University-Community Engagement Awards.

The awards, created by the UB Engagement Advisory Committee to recognize members of the UB community who are building partnerships with community entities that enhance research, teaching and service, were presented at a reception on Wednesday at the Jacobs Executive Development Center.

The reception was hosted by Zukoski and Mary Gresham, former vice provost for educational collaboration and engagement who retired at the end of the fall semester after 45 years of service to UB. Gresham chaired the Engagement Advisory Committee.

As a public research university, UB is “dedicated to pursuing transformative research and education that respond to local and global issues, and are directly engaged with our communities,” Zukoski told those attending the reception.

“Through UB 2020, we are committed to building partnerships in an effort to address community needs while providing faculty, staff and students with rewarding new research and learning opportunities.

“The engagement projects we are recognizing today exemplify this,” he said. “In collaboration with community partners, our honorees use research to address direct needs in our community and they enrich our students’ educational experience by inviting them to participate in the engagement activities.”

Each of the award recipients, Zukoski said, “embodies our mission as a public research university — serving the greater public good through your contributions.”

Gresham agreed, noting the efforts of the award winners “have strengthened relationships in the community and advanced UB’s public research mission.”

She introduced the award winners and offered a brief description of their accomplishments.

The Excellence in University-Community Engagement Award winners, their community partners and the title of their projects:

  • “Community-University Collaboration on Rebuilding Buffalo’s Food System”: Samina Raja, associate professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and community partner Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP).

Raja’s research lab, the UB Food Lab, and MAP have collaborated to rebuild and strengthen the food system in Buffalo, and also work together on events to raise community awareness about the city’s food system. Last year, they partnered to organize a “Just Food, Just Communities” event that included a public lecture on racial and food justice by noted civil rights leader Shirley Sherrod.

  • “FAFSA Completion Project”: Nathan Daun-Barnett, associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, and coordinator of the program in Higher Education Administration, Graduate School of Education, and community partner Say Yes to Education Buffalo.

Completing the FAFSA, a required form for college admission that determines the amount of financial aid available to students and their families, can be daunting. And failure to complete the FAFSA can mean the difference between access to and denial of higher education for a student. The FAFSA Completion Project addressed the problem and implemented a comprehensive strategy — the College Success Center — to help students complete the FAFSA. The project has expanded from one school in Buffalo to 14.

  • “Mobile Mammography Unit and Underserved Primary Care Practices”: Megan Wilson, community research facilitator, Clinical and Translational Research Center, and community partner Deborah Hemphill, Patient Voices Network.

The goal of the project was to improve breast cancer screening rates for inner city women by using a mobile mammography unit to provide on-site screenings at four urban health practices. Recognizing that many women are fearful of mammograms, the project created “patient ambassadors” who would deliver breast health education and help guide the women on screening days. As of last December, the project had screened more than 2,600 women throughout Buffalo.

  • “S-Miles to Go”: Stephen Abel, associate professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics, and associate dean for student, community and professional initiatives, School of Dental Medicine, and numerous community partners in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

The S-Miles to Go initiative continues the dental school’s long history of addressing the oral health needs of medically underserved communities. This mobile dental unit travels to these communities to provide direct clinical services and health education. Senior dental students serve a rotation with the initiative, gaining valuable experience with rural populations. In some communities, they provide the only access to dental services.

Gresham also recognized senior faculty members Joseph Gardella and Henry Louis Taylor Jr. as recipients of the Excellence in University-Community Engagement Award for Sustained Contributions for having demonstrated “sustained contributions and commitment to university-community engagement throughout their careers.”

Gardella, SUNY Distinguished Professor and John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry, has used his research expertise in chemistry to address community concerns for more than 20 years, Gresham said. In 1995 he was the first UB faculty member to modify a course —Analytical Chemistry of Pollutants — to specifically allow students to experience the subject matter in an applied context.

Most recently, she said, he has developed a formal partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Buffalo Public Schools to introduce STEM education strategies to high-needs schools.

Taylor, professor of urban and regional planning in the School of Architecture and Planning, has focused his research on “strengthening undeveloped neighborhoods by improving schools, engaging residents in neighborhood development, developing entrepreneurs, improving the delivery of health care services, and by designing and planning these communities to support this agenda,” Gresham said.

For example, Taylor’s “Community as Classroom” project, in partnership with Futures Academy, has worked with more than 1,000 children, teaching them how to use their classroom lessons to solve neighborhood development problems.

– See more at:

Massachusetts Avenue Project Featured on Food Tank

The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), a long-time community partner of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, was recently featured in an article on Food Tank for their commitment to empowering young people and working to achieve city-wide change. We are delighted to see their work featured. Read on for the full article below.

Empowering Young People and Nurturing Equitable Food Systems

The Massachusetts Avenue Project in Buffalo, New York, is fostering healthy food access opportunities and social change education for young adults. Its mission is to “nurture the growth of a diverse and equitable local food system and promote local economic opportunities, access to affordable, nutritious food, and social change education.” Food Tank had the opportunity to interview with Danielle Rovillo, Markets Director of the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

Food Tank (FT): Please share how The Massachusetts Avenue Project was started and how the organization has grown.

Danielle Rovillo (DR): Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) was started by neighborhood residents in 1992 as a block club and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2000. The original objective was to grow food, beautify the neighborhood, and bring people together. Over time, the organization has grown, but two main foci remain: to work with and help develop young people into productive adults and advocates for food equity and to ensure fresh and nutritious food is accessible to those who need it most. Today, MAP employs 50 teenagers and grows over 80 varieties of vegetables on 14 city lots. MAP also maintains the first aquaponics system in Buffalo and raises tilapia, a couple of really cool koi, and other aquaculture.

To get the food where it needs to be, MAP operates the Mobile Market, a farm stand on wheels. MAP brings fresh fruits and veggies from their urban farm and local partner farms to areas that do not otherwise have easy access to fresh food. MAP also plays a role in Buffalo’s Food Policy Council.

FT: Please describe the Growing Green Youth Program and Growing Green Urban Farm. How are these programs affecting the community?

DR: MAP’s Growing Green Youth program hires two groups of teens in the summer and one group during the school year. Teens new to the organization learn how the food system brings food to their plate. We empower them with knowledge about growing, cooking, and eating fresh food as well as offer support in their pursuit of education and career development. Teens who return as ‘veterans’ compete for positions in our three main work groups: Farm and Garden; Nutrition and Enterprise; and Citizenship and Organizing. All of our work with teens centers around our mission to improve access to fresh food for all. Their work is documented on their blog.

The Growing Green Urban Farm is a full-scale production farm. We plan our crops around sales on the Mobile Market. Our main crop and best seller in 2015 was collard greens. We also grew salad greens, herbs, beets, radishes, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants.

These programs contribute to Buffalo’s communities in many different ways. First, all of our teens graduate high school and an overwhelming majority head to college. Our teens become advocates for food equity and representatives of our organization, and also gain leadership, public speaking, and self-sufficiency skills. Secondly, the farm feeds so many people! We distributed about 18,000 pounds of food in 2014 to over 1,200 individuals. We have educators at each site, offer recipes, and try to instill confidence in our shoppers that they can execute tasty recipes at home.

FT: What is a recent accomplishment or project that the Massachusetts Avenue Project is proud of? Please explain.

DR: We are on the brink of a really big change. We are building a new farmhouse with training space, meeting space, cold storage, tool storage, and more! Currently, we operate out of many spaces in our community. Our main office is in the heart of a small, urban commercial district. Our farm is almost a mile away in a residential neighborhood. We do all of our cooking with teens in a nearby church kitchen. Our farm tools and supplies are housed in a vacant home on one of the lots we farm on. The walking from place to place, the disconnect between facilities, and the absence of adequate food storage on-site all contributed to the need for an inclusive space.

FT: Please share a recent challenge that you have had with the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

DR: One of the biggest challenges I face is language. We have a huge population of amazing new Americans, many of whom have little English and rely on their children for translation. This can make our work very tough! For example, we grew noodle beans the past few summers. They were popular at a market with many Bangladeshi customers, none of whom spoke much English past, “How much?” It was exciting to see how happy these families were to get the beans, but I’ve been dying to know what they make with them. I wish I could ask!

Another great example: one of our teens, Khadijah, is from Kenya originally and spends most of her time in the summer with me at Mobile Market sites. One day, a large family passed our stand. The woman muttered something as she walked by, and I heard Khadijah say something to her in a different language. The entire family turned around and entered our stand. After talking to Khadijah, the family purchased three bags of produce, which is an awful lot compared to most customers at our stands. Khadijah helped this family understand an incentive program we had for food stamp recipients called Double Up Food Bucks. There was absolutely no way I could have explained anything about food stamps to this family. Khadijah made this family’s visit to our farm stand possible. I remind her often how important this is and how proud I am to have her on the stand with me.

FT: How can individuals become involved in the Massachusetts Avenue Project?

DR: There are a number of ways you can become involved with MAP. First, anyone who eats fresh food or wants to eat fresh food in Buffalo can support our work by shopping at our Mobile Market stands. MAP also has volunteer projects on the farm in the spring and fall, and we hold a farm tour each week from spring through late fall. If you’re interested in MAP but not close by, you can support our work by joining the conversation on social media. Connect with us, support an event or drive, share our page with a friend, and drop us a comment or two. We love hearing what is going on in other communities, and making connections is very important to us.

UB Reporter Runs Article on Interdisciplinary Studio Course

The UB Reporter featured an article on the interdisciplinary studio taught by Professor Korydon Smith and Professor Samina Raja in Maradu, India over the winter break.  See the full article below to see how University at Buffalo students are developing a public sanitation plan that integrates public health, urban planning, and civil engineering.

UB students travel to India to help town create sanitation plan

UB students Vasikan Vijayashanthar and Connor Hannan (middle) talk about their work with Greeshma Joy Kallingal (far left) and Sreelakshmi C J (far right), both from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram.

UB students Vasikan Vijayashanthar and Connor Hannan (middle) talk about their work with Greeshma Joy Kallingal (far left) and Sreelakshmi C J (far right), both from the College of Engineering in Thiruvananthapuram, India, as part of an interdisciplinary spring studio offered through UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.


Published February 29, 2016

The world’s most pressing problems can’t be solved with one approach or seen through a single lens. That’s the thinking behind a spring studio course offered at UB that aims to help a community in India develop a much-needed public sanitation plan.

Thirteen graduate students in this interdisciplinary studio offered through the School of Architecture and Planning joined two faculty members and two teaching assistants in India for three weeks in January, interviewing local residents, government officials, staff and engineers in Maradu, a municipality of about 50,000 people in the state of Kerala, located in the southwestern tip of the country.

Over the next few months, they’ll process all the data they collected to develop a report that will inform a public sanitation plan for Maradu.

“The systems we’re going to recommend have to be dynamic. Implementing a waste management plan isn’t going to solve all of these issues. It’s going to require a bunch of solutions and little behavioral changes that can have smaller impacts, which will lead to larger change,” says Vasikan Vijayashanthar, a master of science in civil engineering student from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences who is in the studio.

The need for a public sanitation plan is great: 774 million people in India lack household toilets, according to a November 2015 report by WaterAid. Open defecation is common, causing severe public health issues such as the spread of disease.

While Maradu has better infrastructure in place than some parts of India, the municipality needed assistance in developing its sanitation plan.

“The students’ report will help contribute to the Maradu town council’s plan and advance that process,” says Korydon Smith, associate professor of architecture and a co-leader of Global Health Equity, one of several new “Communities of Excellence” UB launched last spring to help address major global issues in an interdisciplinary way.

Smith is co-leading the spring studio with Samina Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning and principal investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at UB.

The interdisciplinary nature of the studio — the 13 students come from architecture, urban planning, environmental engineering and public health — mirrors a real-world approach to solving major public health problems in developing countries. That’s intentional.

“This is unique. To our knowledge, this is the only civically engaged, multidisciplinary study abroad studio of its kind,” Smith says.

Adds Raja: “Students have been part of the full planning process — from survey development, to data collection, to precedent research and proposal-making, including collaboration with partners and stakeholders.”

An eye-opening experience

The students’ time in India was particularly impactful. The need they saw for better water and sanitation systems is precisely the reason Sucharita Paul, who received her MD in 1995 from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, decided to return to school after working eight years as an attending physician in the emergency department at Buffalo General Hospital.

“I’ve been a practicing physician for several years and part of the reason I decided to do a master of public health at UB was because I wanted to get more focused on the importance of preventive care and good health,” says Paul, who received her bachelor’s degree from UB, where she also did her residency in emergency medicine.

“This has been a rewarding, real-life public health experience for me. It’s immersed me. Instead of being in the classroom for the past year and learning a lot of theory, it’s been rewarding to actually touch other human beings and feel like you’re making an impact — not person-to-person at the bedside, but on a much broader level,” adds Paul, who is also a clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine in UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“A lot of us were thrown into roles that we never normally have and that our education wouldn’t normally cover,” says Kenzie McNamara, a master of architecture student.

International and community partners

The India-focused studio developed from a chance conversation at a conference between Raja and Bharat Singh, a UB alumnus and planner with international experience.

Singh mentioned the work of Suresh Rohilla, an environmental planner who heads the Water Department for the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), an India-based research think tank leading the public sanitation effort for the entire country.

Last summer, a two-person team from Raja’s lab traveled to New Delhi, Kerala and Kashmir to visit potential sites for the studio, and to meet with potential partners, including Rohilla. “We were quite impressed by CSE’s work, especially in Kerala,” Raja says.

Other partners include GIZ, a German organization similar to the U.S. Agency for International Development; the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram located in nearby Kerala; and K. Vasuki, executive director of the Suchitwa Mission, a state sanitation agency.

The UB students paired with students from Thiruvananthapuram and split into teams. One group conducted surveys with approximately 75 households to learn more about water usage and storage, food systems, disease in the area, and general health and sanitation behaviors.

Other students, through diagramming and photography, documented the built environment, including basic floor plans of homes, as well as water and waste-management systems.

In addition, students developed a GIS database that links physical and spatial information to demographic and statistical data.

Throughout the remainder of the spring semester, they’ll consolidate and synthesize all the data they collected to develop their report, which will be sent to Maradu city leaders. The studio ends this semester, but Raja noted there will be additional opportunities for students to continue their work in Maradu.

– See more at:

Prince George’s County Food System Study Released

The Prince George’s County Food System Study report, Healthy Food for All Prince Georgians: An assessment of access to healthy food in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is now available online for reading or free downloading:

This research study is an assessment of access to healthy food in Prince George’s County. It identifies issues affecting access to healthy and adequate food through surveys of food retailers, and surveys and focus group discussions with consumers. It explains why despite having more supermarkets than the market could support, there is still inadequate access to healthy food for a significant number of residents.

It discusses the shortcomings of national studies on areas with limited access to healthy food, and includes research findings on food-health connection, school meals, and food insecurity in the County. Based on the study findings and national and international promising practices, policy recommendations are provided for creating a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system that ensures everybody has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainably grown, safe, and culturally appropriate food.

Two Food Courses Offered at UB for Spring 2016

Two courses will be taught at University at Buffalo during the spring 2016 semester that may be of interest to students who want to  learn about the food system.

The Politics of Food and Eating in the Americas (Department of History): This course explores the politics of everyday life in the Americas, with a special focus on the history of food and eating. We take food as a lens through which to understand race, class, gender, identity and immigration. The food we make, cook, eat and discard has a history; it is also a means by which we make and unmake our individual, social, and political worlds.We will build our reading and discussions around a wide range of food related texts, images, and other sources, including cookbooks, literature, blogs, TV and films. This class will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 12-1:45pm. For more information, please contact Dr. Camilo Trumper directly at

Place-based Determinants of Health and Behavior (School of Public Health and Health Professions): This course will give students an in-depth understanding of the role of community, organizational and environmental influences on health outcomes and health behaviors. We will critically assess the place-based public health literature, review relevant theories and discuss methodological considerations for conducting research in multiple settings. Students will be able to choose and apply appropriate theories and methods for designing and evaluating interventions which affect policies and programs within and around the places people live, play, work and worship. This class will take place on Thursdays from 1:00-3:40pm. For more information, please contact Dr. Lucia Leone directly at

Post-Doc Position Application Date Extended to Jan. 30

The Global Health Equity Community of Excellence is pleased to announce an exciting post-doctoral opportunity at the University of Buffalo for outstanding candidates interested in the connection between global health equity and planning/policy. The post-doc will join a newly formed university-wide Center that includes the School of Architecture and Planning, the School of Public Health and Health Professions, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Applications are being accepted immediately, and reviewed on a rolling basis. Deadline for application has been extended to January 30. Please see the information below for further details.

About the position

Applications are invited for an outstanding postdoctoral scholar to join a university-wide interdisciplinary research initiative on Global Health Equity. Joining an interdisciplinary team of faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and research staff across multiple schools, including the Schools of Public Health and Health Professions, the School of Architecture and Planning, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the selected postdoctoral scholar will focus her/his research on addressing global health inequities by harnessing the power of non-health disciplines including architecture, applied economics, engineering, international development, social work, urban, regional and rural planning and policy, and related disciplines to address challenging global health inequities. The candidate will develop a research portfolio working under the guidance of faculty mentors in the School of Architecture and Planning, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Eligibility requirements

Candidate must hold a doctorate in the following or related fields: urban and regional planning, international development, public policy, or industrial engineering. An eligible candidate’s dissertation and research interests should be related to advancing public health or development in a global setting, preferably in low-resource communities.

Skills and experience

Experience in teaching or supervision of graduate student research at the masters level will be helpful. Applicants from engineering disciplines will need to demonstrate capability in modeling complex systems; dealing with large quantity of data are a plus.


Selected candidate will conduct independent research with guidance from Drs. Samina Raja, Li Lin, Korydon Smith, and Pavani Ram. Candidates are encouraged to identify a principal mentor among this faculty group. Candidate will also collaborate closely with the near-60 faculty aligned with the Community of Global Health Equity.

The candidate will be expected to contribute intellectually to the work of the UB CGHE through research-related activities, including generating original scholarship and contributing to ongoing research through the UB CGHE.

How to Apply (and Additional Details)

Apply at Search using the position posting number 1500823.

About the UB Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity

The grand challenge of global health inequity is one of the defining issues of the 21st century, attracting unprecedented levels of interest and the attention of thinkers who are concerned about the underlying social, economic, political, and environmental factors of this challenge, in addition to the biomedical manifestations. The UB Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE) was established in July 2015 to bring the strength of UB faculty across many disciplines to bear on this most vexing of world problems. The UB CGHE advances global health equity by harnessing the power of interdisciplinary scholarship and action spanning architecture, planning, engineering, and supportive disciplines (APEX disciplines). Read more about UB CGHE here:

The selected postdoctoral scholar will be from an APEX discipline, and will join a team of faculty and researchers across multiple disciplines including public health and APEX disciplines.

The WHO defines health inequity as “unjust differences in health between persons of different social groups.” These differences between one population (and group) and another are due, in part, to one or more of the following systemic barriers:

  1. gaps in foundational science (e.g., lack of drug discovery to treat neglected tropical diseases)
  2. socio-cultural barriers or phenomena (e.g., gender gap in provision and utilization of healthcare)
  3. ineffectual and/or unjust public policies (e.g., land-use policies that (inadvertently) limit people’s access to nutritious foods)
  4. ineffective practices or unequal access to best practices (e.g., lack of safe construction practices in hard-to-reach rural areas)

Low resources and/or low capacity for change at global, social, and/or institutional levels exacerbate these systemic barriers. This Community’s aim is to “influence the influencers,” the leaders, organizations, and policy makers that can reduce or eliminate barriers to improved global health and well-being for all in settings around the world:

  1. research bodies (e.g., universities or funding agencies)
  2. facilitative/dissemination organizations, including international organizations (e.g., state agency providing assistance to refugees or international organization promoting child health)
  3. policy makers and implementers (e.g., ministries of rural development)
  4. professional/practitioner organizations (e.g., urban planning organizations or organizations providing healthcare)
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