HEI News

Dr. Laura Mamo accepted as visiting scholar at the Brocher Foundation

Laura Mamo

Dr. Laura Mamo has been accepted as a visiting scholar at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland to complete her project, “Bioethics and Bio-Justice: Emergent Debates in HPV and Cancer Prevention.” 

The mission of the Brocher Foundation is to host researchers from all over the world  who dedicate their work to ethical, legal and social aspects of medical development and public health policies. Dr. Mamo will be a visiting scholar for the month of October 2015. Learn more about the Brocher Foundation.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Charmayne Hughes to the Health Equity Institute!

Dr. Hughes joined our team as Health Equity Institute Associate Professor of Kinesiology, starting Fall 2015. Dr. Hughes was hired as part of a new faculty cluster focused on Violence, Trauma, and Health. 

Charmayne HughesAbout Dr. Hughes: Dr. Hughes is a senior post-doctoral fellow in the Robotics Research Centre in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Dr. Hughes completed her PhD in motor behavior with a specialization in motor control from Purdue University in 2010. She previously worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Neurocognition and Action Research Group, Department of Psychology and Sport Sciences at Bielefeld University. She also held joint appointments with the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (COR-Lab), and the Center of Excellence: Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC), both within Bielefeld University.

Her research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms underlying motor planning and control during goal-directed movements in neurologically healthy adults and children. In addition, she examines aspects of motor control in individuals with neurological deficits (e.g., stroke) and applies these results to the development of robotic devices that can improve their rehabilitation trajectories.

About the Violence, Trauma, and Health Cluster

There is enormous scientific, social, and cultural interest in the impact of violence and trauma on individual and collective well-being. It is essential that we build deeper understandings of the complex relationships between violence, trauma, and health among individuals, families, communities, and societies at large. Moreover, we must encourage scholarship and discourse concerning the ways in which the ubiquity of violence and its traumatic effects in popular culture both reflect and refract lived experience. This faculty cluster was designed to support key cross-discipline intellectual initiatives and will bring together scholars from Kinesiology, Psychology, and Cinema

Dr. Hughes will join this cluster through a joint position with HEI and the Kinesiology department starting Fall 2015. She will provide academic and professional leadership through her expertise in the study of trauma and physical functioning.

To learn more about Dr. Hughes and her current research, visit her website.

Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez gave a talk at the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP)

Recently, Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez, HEI Director, visited the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) where she gave a talk titled, "Science in Context: How Can Discovery Lead to Health Equity?" 
Cynthia at UTEPIn her talk, Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez discussed how achieving health equity depends on many factors including transdisciplinary innovation, community engagement, and science justice. She explained the social determinants of health model, highlighting how HEI's research efforts attempt to reduce the historical mistrust of scientific inquiry among our most disenfranchised communities. To conclude, she presented considerations for how the academy itself may need to change the way research is developed and disseminated, if we are truly seeking discoveries for the social good. The talk was hosted through the Vulnerability Issues in Drug Abuse (VIDA) Project. To learn more about the project, visit the VIDA website.
While at UTEP, Dr. Gómez also met with students and was interviewed for the UTEP radio show, ‘Science Studio.’ Listen to her radio interview today

Learn more about HEI’s research projects.

Check out our four infographics on Health Equity!

Framework Screenshot

Check out our infographics, which have been developed as resources to help others better understand the framework and goal of Health Equity, including what factors must be addressed and eliminated in order to achieve Health Equity.

Health Equity Framework

A brief infographic which explains the Health Equity Framework and how social, economic, and environmental conditions affect health in a number of ways. Adapted by HEI from the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) Framework

What are Health Inequities?

Health inequities are differences in health that are avoidable, unfair, and unjust. Check out this infographic to learn what affects health inequities.

What are Health Disparities?

Health disparities are differences in health outcomes among groups of people. Check out this infographic to learn what affects health disparities.

What affects Health Equity?

This infographic explains the different factors that affect achieving health equity and how we can work to achieve health equity.

White Paper: A Model for Strengthening Community in Trauma Affected Neighborhoods

Trauma Informed Community Building: A Model for Strengthening Community in Trauma Affected Neighborhoods

A white paper published by BRIDGE Housing and HEI/SF State presents a new model for strengthening high-poverty, challenged communities as part of housing transformation efforts.


  • Jessica Wolin, HEI Associate Director for Community Practice
  • Emily Weinstein, Director at Potrero Community and Housing Development
  • Sharon Rose, MPH, Writing Consultant

About the paper: 

Trauma Paper CoverAcross the country efforts to revitalize low-income and public housing are underway as part of large-scale community development initiatives that seek to alleviate poverty and improve neighborhoods.  Neighborhood conditions affect both an individual's mental and physical health; research has shown that low-income and public housing residents experience high levels of trauma due to daily stressors of violence and concentrated poverty as well as historic and structural conditions of racism and disenfranchisement (Collins, et al., 2010). Ongoing trauma can have lasting adverse effects that compromise an individual’s mental health and overall well-being. (Luby, 2013; SAMHSA, 2012). 

Trauma can also undermine “readiness” for individual and community change -- the extent to which community is prepared and inclined to take collective action on an issue (Oetting, et al., 1995). For community development initiatives in these neighborhoods to be successful, a continuous process of identifying community needs and developing the assets to meet those needs is needed (Green and Haines, 2007). There must also be a community building approach that factors in the trauma that residents experience and acknowledges their emotional needs. 

In this paper, a model of Trauma Informed Community Building (TICB) is presented. TICB is a new model that addresses the challenges trauma poses to traditional community building strategies. TICB strategies de-escalate chaos and stress, build social cohesion and foster community resiliency over time. This model is based on BRIDGE housing corporation’s experience doing community building work over the past five years in the Potrero Terrace and Annex public Housing site in San Francisco. The work in Potrero is part of San Francisco’s HOPE SF initiative, a public-private partnership led by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office to rebuild some of the most distressed public housing in San Francisco. The TICB model effectively takes into account the real-life experiences of low-income and public housing residents. Read the full paper to learn more about the model

Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez appointed to Office of Health Equity Advisory Committee

Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Pubic Health (CDPH) director and state health officer, announced the 24 members who were appointed to the Office of Health Equity Advisory Committee (OHE-AC). The OHE-AC is a newly created committee that aims to reduce and eliminate inequities in the health and mental health status among California's diverse populations. Among the members is Dr. Cynthia A. Gòmez, Health Equity Institute Founding Director. Congratulations to Dr. Gòmez! See the other members and read the full press release