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What we do

About Us

The Community Health Justice Lab (CHJL) is a multidisciplinary research lab committed to addressing social determinants of health and the drivers of health inequity among certain groups. CHJL refers to our growing effort among our members to encourage equal distribution and utilization of health resources for medically underserved and hidden populations facing disparities due to socioeconomic status, immigration, criminal record, race, age, sex, disability, or insurance status.

Our Mission

Our Commitment to Health, Justice, and Wellbeing

At CHJL, we firmly believe that health inequity is not merely a health issue, but a matter of justice. Health inequity is a social and structural problem that profoundly affects human health, well-being, and longevity. This realization forms the bedrock of our commitment to health justice, a commitment that infuses every facet of our research and advocacy efforts.

CHJL is a testament to the transformative power of diversity and belonging. We cultivate a community of individuals from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The common thread of CHJL is their shared experience of diversity and participation in the lab. This diversity is not just a challenge, but the group’s greatest strength. Training in an environment that empowers varied perspectives propels the group in creative and innovative directions, making everyone’s unique contribution invaluable despite the unpredictability of who will be trained next.

Our Vision

CHJL envisions a world where every individual has equitable access to high-quality healthcare and social resources regardless of their background or circumstances. In this world, health disparities are eliminated, and all communities thrive in an environment of compassion, respect, and mutual support. CHJL strives to lead innovative research, community-based interventions, and advocacy efforts that address social determinants of health, fostering a holistic and inclusive approach to health justice. By empowering diverse perspectives and fostering kindness, CHJL aims to create sustainable, systemic changes that ensure health equity for all.

Our Values

At the core of CHJL’s endeavors are our unwavering values. These are not mere words on a page, but principles that steer our daily operations. Our commitment to equity drives us to confront the injustices and imbalances in healthcare access and quality that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. This commitment extends beyond our work; it’s about the people we work with. We are deeply committed to ensuring that all voices, regardless of background or circumstances, are heard, respected, and valued in our internal project discussions, from conceptualization to publication.

  1. Health Equity is a fundamental principle that drives the mission of CHJL. The lab ensures that all individuals have access to the necessary resources and opportunities to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes regardless of their background or circumstances. This commitment involves addressing systemic barriers and social determinants contributing to health disparities and fostering an environment of inclusivity and belonging.

  2. Multidisciplinary: CHJL brings together experts from public health, social work, nutrition, medicine, and criminal justice. This multidisciplinary approach is essential for addressing the complex and interconnected factors contributing to health disparities.

  3. Collaboration Across Disciplines and Specialties enables the lab to approach problems from multiple perspectives, leading to more comprehensive and practical solutions. This applies to trainees (BA, BS, MSW, MPH, MD, DO), advocates, and PIs (PhD, EdD, MD, MSW).

  4. Community Engagement is a core value of CHJL. Unlike many organizations that operate on long-term project timelines, CHJL remains flexible and responsive to the immediate needs of the communities it serves. Whether addressing issues related to cancer, corrections, COVID-19, or mental health, CHJL adapts its efforts in real-time to meet the community’s evolving challenges. This dynamic approach ensures that CHJL is aligned with the current priorities and needs of the people it represents.

  5. Research and Dissemination: CHJL is committed to conducting high-quality research and disseminating findings through reputable academic and local channels. The focus is on producing data and insights highlighting the needs and experiences of historically underrepresented groups, including ourselves.

  6. Investment in Education and Professional Development: CHJL aims to cultivate a new generation of professionals capable of conducting rigorous research and producing complex, reputable scholarly work. Investing in the education and development of professionals ensures the sustainability and long-term impact of CHJL’s mission. These individuals will become future leaders and advocates for health justice, continuing the work of addressing health inequities.

  7. Kindness is a fundamental value of CHJL, shaping the way the lab interacts with the community, stakeholders, and team members. This value is reflected in several key areas:

    Compassionate Engagement: CHJL prioritizes empathy and understanding in all its engagements. This compassionate approach fosters trust and strengthens the relationships between the lab and the communities it serves.

    Respect and Dignity: Every individual interacting with CHJL is treated with the utmost respect and dignity. The lab recognizes the intrinsic worth of every person, regardless of their background or circumstances. This respectful treatment is integral to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

    Supportive Environment: Within the lab, kindness is manifested in the way team members support each other. A culture of mutual assistance and encouragement ensures that all members can thrive both personally and professionally. This supportive environment is crucial for fostering innovation and collaboration, as it allows individuals to express their ideas and concerns without fear of judgment.

    Ethical Conduct: Kindness guides the ethical conduct of CHJL. The lab is committed to conducting its research and interventions with the highest standards of integrity and care.