The Urban Health Equity, Education, and Research Collaborative (UHEERC)
UHEERC is a college-wide initiative conducting research directed at understanding and addressing the primary underlying causes of health inequities - the social determinants of health. UHEERC supports teams of health scientists who use action research methods, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and clinical research methods to improve health outcomes in high-risk clinical populations, implement community-based chronic disease prevention and management programs, advance health policy reform, and promote racial equity. With a solid track record of sustained funding, local and national engagement, and a critical mass of experienced and emerging investigators, the Collaborative is uniquely positioned to investigate these complex, pressing, and nationally important research areas.
The College began building the UHEERC research infrastructure in 2014, by establishing the first of four research academies. The academies are dedicated to improving urban health and well-being, and three of the four are directed by established National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigators. The Academy for Research on Community Health, Engagement, and Services (ARCHES) promotes CBPR through place-based partnerships and transdisciplinary research teams. The Academy for Population Health Innovation (APHI) is a unique partnership between the University and the Mecklenburg County health department, concentrating on health equity, HIV/AIDS and chronic disease prevention, and behavioral health integration. The Academy for Clinical Research and Scholarship (ACRS) establishes partnerships with clinical agencies to synergize research affecting patient health outcomes. The Academy for Race and Social Equity (RASE) fosters the scholarship of practice and research focused on advancing racial and social parity. A suite of applied, clinical and basic research laboratories, support health assessment, physical activity, biodynamics, and systems physiology research. A Biostatistics Core, Data Core, and a partnership with SDS and CCI support statistics, analytics, data management and tech innovations.
The UHEERC uses an NIH design - many faculty and students affiliate with one or more research academies (e.g. APHI, ARCHES, RASE, ACRS, or laboratory), but investigations transcend academy boundaries. Research generally aligns with the social determinants of health with distinct program lines in place-based social determinants of health (Social), clinical care (Clinical), lifestyle and behavior (Behavioral), health care policy (Policy), social justice (Justice), and data science (Action Data). The UHEERC is administered by an NIH-funded, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies (ADRGS)(Sell). With input from a 6-member Research Council and the four research academy directors, the ADRGS guides research and education support while facilitating synergies and relationship building. UHEERC members train doctoral scholars in six interdisciplinary doctoral programs, often involving co-supervision.
APHI is a novel collaborative between UNC Charlotte and the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department designed to advance the health of our community. APHI’s core is built around the application of data and best evidence to understand and address community health needs.
ARCHES is dedicated to improving health in vulnerable communities, and to advancing the scientific and social missions of the health and health-related sciences through collaborative, participatory, and multispecialty approaches.
AVMH is dedicated to improving health and community reintegration of military affiliated populations (veterans, service members, and their families). The academy is developing and providing effective instruction, actionable research, and support services to address the challenges and health disparities facing transitioning service members, veterans, and their families.
The Race and Social Equity Academy (RASE) fosters the scholarship of practice and research focused on advancing racial and social parities within the community. Along with empirical scholarship, we support race dialogue through intellectual discourse, bringing together thought leaders in our community representing a variety of perspectives on race and social equity matters.
ACRS is committed to improving nursing clinical practice and education through interdisciplinary scholarship.