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Congratulations to the 2024 UHC Working Group Funding Awardees!

Dornsife Exterior with People

January 9, 2024

The UHC is excited to announce the recipients of our latest round of working group funding:

  • Black Immigrant Health Working Group 
  • Queer Inclusion, Equality, Health, & Rights (QuIEHR)
  • Social Policy and Program Evaluation for Advancing Health Equity Working Group

A working group is an interdisciplinary collaboration that convenes individuals across multiple roles (including faculty, staff, and students). Working groups are envisioned to incubate new directions and may in some instances result in securing sustainable support to transform into a group of another type, whether as a funded project, network, or lab.

Black Immigrant Health Working Group

The Black Immigrant Health Working Group is a multidisciplinary group of faculty, staff and students across Drexel’s Urban Health Collaborative (UHC), Dornsife School of Public Health, College of Nursing and Health Professions, College of Arts and Sciences and Community Partners serving Black Immigrant communities in Philadelphia, to engage in research and discussions to promote health equity for Black immigrant communities, as well coordinate engagements with local policy actors. Our aim is to

  1. Identify critical areas of concern and gain valuable insights into the unique challenges faced by this demographic
  2. Advance transdisciplinary engagement for students, faculty, and staff with speakers and workshops presented by prominent scholars focused on Black immigrant health.
  3. Develop a Black immigrant health consortium of scholars, community agencies, policymakers, and other stakeholders who serve Black immigrants by establishing a vital hub for our initiative within the UHC. This hub, which will be based in Drexel University and affiliated with the UHC, will serve as a Black immigrant Community Health Consortium for the East Coast, which will collaborate closely with local Black non-profit agencies. This consortium will not only facilitate our research endeavors but also serve as a resource center for community members seeking health-related support and information

The Black Immigrant Health Working Group is co-led by Opeyemi Babajide, PhD, MSc, and Betranna Muruthi, PhD, MS.

Queer Inclusion, Equality, Health, & Rights (QuIEHR) Working Group

The Queer Inclusion, Equity, Health, & Rights (QuIEHR) working group comprises Drexel community members and community partners engaging in research, education, training, practice, and advocacy related to public health, medicine, human rights, and social inclusion for sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. The interdisciplinary working group brings faculty, students, staff, and community members together to collaborate on research projects and grant proposals, elevate the visibility of SGM-related research and practice occurring at the Dornsife School of Public Health, and provide students with research and practice opportunities to promote health equity for SGM populations in Philadelphia, the United States, and globally.

The QuIEHR working group is co-led by Stephanie Hernandez, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dornsife School of Public Health; Randall Sell, ScD, Professor, Community Health and Prevention, Dornsife School of Public Health; and Cara Frances, MPH, Doctoral Student, Community Health and Prevention, Dornsife School of Public Health. For more information or to get involved, contact Cara Frances at or visit

Social Policy and Program Evaluation for Advancing Health Equity Working Group

Structural racism, sexism, and other forms of structural marginalization impact population health inequities through several social pathways, including via wealth accumulation and extraction, financial strain, social mobility, and access to safe and stable housing, food security, and healthcare. There is growing attention to the importance of social policies and programs for health and health equity, and there are several research projects at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) that examine the impacts of such approaches. To promote the exchange of best practices in methods, research dissemination, and community involvement, this working group will establish a platform for collaboration, elevating the work of researchers who are examining the impact of social policies and programs on health and health equity. Specifically, we will:

  1. Use a case study approach to facilitate conversation about ongoing research projects, with a focus on identifying (a) methodological approaches to analyzing impacts of social policies and programs, (b) methodological approaches to examining downstream and/or unintended consequences of these policies/programs, (c) approaches to sharing research findings, and (d) approaches to community participation in research.
  2. Increase internal and external knowledge of social policy and program evaluations at DSPH, both at the Urban Health Collaborative and externally among DSPH researchers focused on urban well-being.
  3. Deepen students’ engagement in social policy and program evaluation by providing connections to external partner organizations implementing social policies and programs, and by providing opportunities for MPH students to work with faculty engaged in such work.

These three goals complement the existing and aspirational mission of the DSPH to advance health and human rights through its curriculum, scholarship, and community engagement.

The Social Policy and Program Evaluation for Advancing Health Equity Working Group is co-led by Patrick Smith, BSN, RN, and Allison Groves PhD, MHS