Center for Health Equity

Engaging Communities, Eliminating Health Disparities, Advancing Social Justice

Since 2011, the Center for Health Equity (CHE) seeks to understand and ultimately eliminate health inequities in under resourced, vulnerable, and underserved communities and populations, particularly those in Western Pennsylvania. CHE addresses issues attributed to institutional racism, builds strategic partnerships across sectors and communities, acknowledges a social equity in all policies perspective, and the public sector's role in achieving health equity for its' citizenry. 

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Dara Mendez, EPI faculty and director, Center for Health Equity

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"My research, teaching, curriculum development and service applies equity, anti-racism, anti-oppression praxis as well as Black Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory and Public Health Critical Race Praxis. My research program focuses on understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. I specifically employ novel methods to measure and understand how racism (including institutional and struct... 

'I won't be used as a guinea pig for white people' - Black Pittsburghers think twice about vaccine trials

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NEW YORK TIMES - Mistrust of vaccines runs deep in African-American communities. Against formidable odds, Fr. Paul Abernathy and his teams are trying to convince residents fo Pittsburgh's Black neighborhoods to volunteer for trials testing a COVID-19 shot. “The community health deputies have been instrumental in communicating about the vaccine registry in authentic ways,” said Elizabeth Miller of BCHS and Pitt Medicine, who coordinates outreach ... 

Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video)

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Freedom House Enterprises ambulance services was a pioneering program designed to be representative of the community it served (Pittsburgh's Hill District), provide a pathway for upward mobility, and address a severe disparity in pre-hospital care. The collaboration between Phil Hallen, Peter Safar, and James McCoy Jr., developed into a groundbreaking endeavor that shaped modern EMS.  

"Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings." 

-Nelson Mandela

Health Justice Scholars


We're looking for the inagural group of Health Justice Scholars!

Supporting the development of Pitt Public Health scholars who have interests and/or projects in health equity and justice. This includes, but is not limited to, health equity research, policy, and practice in areas such as:

  • chronic disease
  • violence prevention
  • maternal and infant health
  • mental health
  • interventions focused on Black, Latinx, and communities of color

Learn more and apply today...

Health Equity Spotlight: Kyanna Williams-Pate

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Not all individuals have access to quality health care. That lack of access to universal quality health care is what inspired me to go into the field of public health and health equity. One of my main interests is ensuring that the most vulnerable populations receive health care and bridging the gaps in health disparities. I am very interested in the social determinants of health and how they can all contribute to the health of an individual and...