CSAAH’s work is guided by a population health equity framework. In close collaboration with over 75 local and national community partners, we have evolved our mission and goals to advance health disparities research within a health equity framework. Specifically, we have identified and established seven key strategies for advancing a transdisciplinary population health equity agenda that continues to inform CSAAH’s approach to health disparities research. These strategies are:

  1. Apply a social determinants of health approach by performing ongoing descriptive and longitudinal research to monitor measurable changes in social factors and population health outcomes;1
  2. Conduct research that is guided by multi-sectoral coalitions that recognize the role of social determinants on health equity, and incorporates health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas;2,3
  3. Engage communities through community-based ethnic coalitions and pan-ethnic advisory groups including diverse stakeholders;
  4. Perform disaggregated data collection that bridges information gaps and promotes equitable collection, reporting, and analysis of data, to identify underserved population needs and inform areas of health equity research;4
  5. Build human and social capital by integrating community health workers (CHWs) and other community leaders in program design and implementation;5-8 
  6. Foster linkages and access to care by partnering with health care systems and disseminating information through community-based organizations and social service agencies; and
  7. Develop sustainable development of internal structures by strengthening organizational and community-based infrastructures through capacity-building activities.

View timeline of CSAAH's research by scientific track.

Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR)

In addition to the seven strategies described above, CSAAH’s research, training, and partnership development activities are guided by the principles of community based participatory research (CBPR).9 Unlike “traditional” health research, CBPR calls for the active and equal partnership of community stakeholders throughout the research process. CBPR couples researchers and their communities to develop research in partnership with one another and to translate these findings into effective practice.10,11

There are several fundamental principles of CBPR:

  • Promotes active collaboration and participation at every stage of research
  • Facilitates co-learning and capacity-building
  • Ensures research/interventions are community-driven and culturally appropriate
  • Defines community as a unit of identity
  • CBPR can yield benefits simultaneously for communities and researchers:
  • Fosters trusting relationships between researchers and communities
  • Enhances quantity and quality of collected data
  • Increases use and relevance of research questions and collected data
  • Promotes dissemination of findings
  • Facilitates infrastructure building and sustainability


  1. Braveman P, Egerter S, Williams DR. The social determinants of health: coming of age. Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;32:381-398.
  2. Marmot M, Friel S, Bell R, Houweling TA, Taylor S, Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Lancet. Nov 08 2008;372(9650):1661-1669.
  3. Rudolph L, Caplan J, Ben-Moshe K, Dillon L. Health in All Policies:  A Guide for State and Local Governments. Washington, DC and Oakland, CA: American Public Health Association and Public Health Institute; 2013.
  4. Alberti PM, Bonham AC, Kirch DG. Making equity a value in value-based health care. Acad Med. Nov 2013;88(11):1619-1623.
  5. Islam N, Nadkarni SK, Zahn D, Skillman M, Kwon SC, Trinh-Shevrin C. Integrating community health workers within Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act implementation. J Public Health Manag Pract. Jan-Feb 2015;21(1):42-50.
  6. Islam N, Riley L, Wyatt L, et al. Protocol for the DREAM Project (Diabetes Research, Education, and Action for Minorities): a randomized trial of a community health worker intervention to improve diabetic management and control among Bangladeshi adults in NYC. BMC Public Health. Feb 18 2014;14:177.
  7. Islam NS, Wyatt LC, Patel SD, et al. Evaluation of a community health worker pilot intervention to improve diabetes management in Bangladeshi immigrants with type 2 diabetes in New York City. Diabetes Educ. Jul-Aug 2013;39(4):478-493.
  8. Ursua RA, Aguilar DE, Wyatt LC, et al. A community health worker intervention to improve management of hypertension among Filipino Americans in New York and New Jersey: a pilot study. Ethn Dis. Winter 2014;24(1):67-76.
  9. Trinh-Shevrin C, Islam N, Tandon D, Abesamis N, Hoe-Asjoe H, Rey MJ. Using Community-Based Participatory Research as a Guiding Framework for Health Disparities Research Centers. Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2007;1(2):195-205.
  10. Minkler M, Wallerstein N. Community-based participatory research for health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2003.
  11. Israel BA, Coombe CM, Cheezum RR, et al. Community-based participatory research: a capacity-building approach for policy advocacy aimed at eliminating health disparities. Am J Public Health. Nov 2010;100(11):2094-2102.