Core Research Areas

The Center for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Health and Society (CREEHS) is an interdisciplinary effort to redress racial and ethnic health disparities by examining socio-economic, geographic and other social determinants of health across the state of Texas.  Health care is a national issue that deeply affects Texas, both economically and socially. The research teams within CREEHS will focus on examining the causes of healthcare gaps, uncovering their statewide impact, and providing a research infrastructure that will facilitate the development of best practices and policy prescriptions for remedying these issues. 

Addressing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Texas

Currently, approximately half of Texas’ budget is designated for healthcare expenses. The recent health crisis has highlighted longstanding racial and ethnic health disparities that exist within the state. While incomplete, the emerging data suggests that communities of color, and particularly Black and Hispanic communities are being disproportionately impacted by the on-going pandemic.  Narrowing and, perhaps, eliminating these health gaps may help reduce healthcare expenditures and, thus, contribute to a more positive budgetary outlook for the state. 

Our Core Areas

Healthcare Access, Quality and Utilization – Historic and current discrimination and social injustice play a large role in health inequity and disparities throughout Texas. An essential step in eliminating these health disparities is to understand how structural barriers and geographic service limitations shape access to quality healthcare. In 2019, Texas ranked last in health care access and affordability, which has a significant impact on minority populations (Commonwealth Fund 2019). These challenges and their influence on our communities are outlined below. Through its highly interdisciplinary capacities, the CREEHS is well-equipped to create innovative initiatives that reduce healthcare barriers, improve quality, and ensure services are accessible to urban and rural communities in Texas. 

Innovative Educational Equity and Career Pathways - Our public education systems do not provide equitable outcomes for all students. These inequities create key gaps in economic opportunity and financial stability that collide with health and perpetuate devastating inequalities. The center will facilitate interdisciplinary research on the relationship between educational achievement as a social determinant of health that can create and inform practices and public policy.

Economic Stability and Development - The Center will investigate the causes of racial and ethnic disparities that impact economic growth and will identify effective strategies and policies that foster the conditions for productive, innovative, and equitable exchange among the state’s diverse population.

Public Policy Initiatives - Policymakers determine the guidelines upon which our healthcare system functions, the laws that dictate socially normative behavior, and the funding priorities that inform how resources are distributed across communities. The Center will organize and facilitate working research groups on health and social policy.