Lehigh's Interdisciplinary Community Health Research Group Addresses Local Health Needs
Lehigh faculty members adopt the Community-Based Participatory Research approach to partner with local community members in the research process.
A Healthy Partnership
In the public health arena, there is a growing recognition that many of the factors that promote, sustain and threaten health operate locally—within individual communities. Lehigh's Community Health Research Group (CHRG) works with members of the local community, nonprofits, healthcare providers, and the public sector to identify and address health needs and health disparities in the Lehigh Valley.
CHRG capitalizes on several of Lehigh’s key strengths—a leadership role in a region with significant ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, existing collaborative relationships with community organizations, and interdisciplinary faculty expertise in the health domain. The group adopts the Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach, in which researchers and community members are equal-status partners in the research process, each contributing their own strengths to gathering and interpreting data and developing interventions.
One current project uses the “photovoice” method to assess health needs from the community perspective, using photographs taken by participants as a springboard for facilitated discussions about health. In another project, the group is partnering with a local Federally Qualified Health Center to evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative opioid addiction treatment program.
“Addressing the health issues facing the Lehigh Valley will require many voices at the table and many forms of expertise. Lehigh’s Community Health Research Group provides a crucial piece of the puzzle,” says Christopher Burke, associate professor of psychology and faculty lead of the CHRG.
Core Faculty Members
Sirry Alang, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology and health, medicine, and society
Kelly Austin, assistant professor of sociology
Christopher Burke, associate professor of psychology
Julia Lechuga, assistant professor of education and health, medicine, and society
Lucy Napper, assistant professor of psychology and health, medicine, and society
This story appears as "A Healthy Partnership" in the 2017 Lehigh Research Review.