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OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute

For Clinical Staff

OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute

For Clinical Staff

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Community Health Equity Services

Bridging the Gap in Healthcare Equality

The OhioHealth Research & Innovation Institute created the Office of Health Equity to identify health disparities and conduct research focused on achieving health equity for Ohio’s diverse population groups.

Health equity means having a fair opportunity to live a healthy life. But often, there are groups within our communities who are unhealthy because of social, economic, language or even geographical factors.

As Ohio’s population continues to grow in culture and custom, it is becoming more obvious that certain population groups lack the resources and/or support to access health care equally. Many minority populations experience health disparities due to socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, geographic location, or a combination of these factors. This often leaves some without the access to lifesaving medical services or miles away from the care they need.

Our team works with community organizations to identify health care deficiencies across the state. We then develop resources and solutions to meet those needs. We measure our success by tracking our efforts as part of research studies and then publishing our results so others can benefit from our work. Some of the projects our team has led include:

  • Teen pregnancy studies
  • Cancer health disparities research
  • Creation of “Proyecto Cáncer del Seno in Latinas”, the Latina Breast Cancer Project — funded by a grant from Susan G. Komen® Foundation
  • Research support for the Amish and Mennonite Breast Health Project 
  • Addressing skin cancer in Appalachia 
  • Food environment and food insecurity research in rural and urban communities in Ohio

A Nationally Recognized, Unique Approach to Public Health Research

At the Office of Health Equity, we ask the questions no one else is asking. After 19 years of service, we know how to work effectively across cultures. We engage the communities we are serving from the beginning and keep them at the center of our research efforts to gain greater understanding of their needs and how we can help.

That’s one of the reasons our work is nationally recognized and valued by other public health and health care organizations. In the past year alone, our team has delivered five scientific abstracts to the American Public Health Association, the world’s leading public health conference, sharing innovative research outcomes from community-led initiatives.

We also empower Ohio communities by giving them the tools and resources they need to address their own health challenges in their own way.

Real-World Opportunity for Interns in Public Health

If your pursuit of a college degree requires an internship, practicum or research thesis or dissertation, the OHRI Office of Health Equity invites you to do it in the real world. Here you can take your healthcare research question and work with our team of experts to effectively design, implement and evaluate it using tested theoretical frameworks and interventions.

The pillars in place at OHRI support you with critical research expertise and grants management. We benefit from the guidance of our community-led advisory groups and advisors with extensive experience in the conduct of public health research.

For more information about our health equity work or our internship program, contact:

Melissa K. Thomas, PhD, MSPH, MSA, MCHES
Director, Sponsored Programs and Office of Health Equity
(614) 566.5206
melissa.thomas2@ohiohealth.com