Making a difference in patient-focused research
CHEER facilitates research centered around community engagement and leads to greater health equity.
“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” — Idowu Koyenikan
Promoting health equity and population health improvement
The University of Florida Center for Health Equity and Engagement Research, or CHEER, is constantly working to keep its fingers on the pulse of research that matters most to our patients and the community we serve. As part of the larger research ecosystem within the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, CHEER serves the vital role of facilitating research that is centered around promoting community engagement and greater health equity.
Fern Webb, PhD, and Lori Bilello, PhD, MBA, MHS, are co-directors of CHEER.
“Giving everyone a fair opportunity to reach their highest level of health is our main priority,” said Webb. “Motivated by that notion, CHEER facilitates research studies that not only advance medicine for our patients but also has an impact on the lives of those living in our broader community.”
Research that requires collaboration
A portion of CHEER’s success is rooted in stakeholder engagement.
“Achieving our goal is an all-hands-on deck situation,” said Bilello. “Meaning that the studies conducted through CHEER requires that our patients, community members, health care professionals and community organizations all contribute to the development, implementation and evaluation of the research.”
CHEER contributes to a variety of research conducted to engage persons identified from clinical and community settings in collaboration with researchers and health care professionals at UF and beyond. Joining forces with researchers at UF on federally funded research, we tackle health conditions that disproportionately affect medically and socially vulnerable populations.
Current studies include PANDEMIC, which addresses COVID-19 prevention; the NCI-funded Florida-California Cancer Research, Education and Engagement (CaRE2) Health Equity Center, addressing cancer prevention; the NIA-funded Florida Statewide Registry for Aging Studies (FSRAS), which looks into health research participation of culturally diverse older adults; and the NIA-funded Preventing Alzheimer’s through Cognitive Training (PACT), which evaluates cognitive health in aging adults.
“As the region’s leading academic medical center, our mission is to conduct leading-edge research that benefits our patients and the community,” said Alexander Parker, PhD, senior associate dean for research at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “To that end, what truly sets us apart from other institutions is the amazing work being done every day by the dedicated faculty and staff in CHEER. As the central hub for research that both engages and benefits our community, CHEER does more than just carry out research activities. They leverage vital relationships with the community to first better understand their needs and then work in partnership to develop and test solutions that enhance health and wellness for all.”
The center collaborates with more than 20 community organizations in Jacksonville, with research extending throughout Florida and the United States.
How can you get involved? Contact CHEER to:
- Consult on your study.
- Learn more about our ongoing research and share your research to identify collaborative opportunities.
- Become a CHEER affiliate: Work with like-minded faculty and staff to advance the health equity and community engagement agenda at UF. CHEER affiliates meet on a quarterly basis to discuss research projects and collaboration opportunities.
- Recommend a patient to participate in the Patient Centered Research Collaborative, or PCRC. The goal of the PCRC is to bring together patients, community leaders, health care providers and researchers to identify and develop research initiatives that reduce health disparities.
- Use the CHEER resources webpage, developed to assist UF faculty and staff, community organizations and community members with identifying data about health equity and the social determinants of health. These data sources may be useful for research proposals, grant applications or presentations.
To learn more, contact us at CHEER@jax.ufl.edu.