Affinity Groups

To build on recent success and encourage further cross-campus work, the Steering Committee for the University-Wide Initiative to Reduce Health Disparities is promoting a framework for engaging faculty within self-identified areas of interest, with the aim of generating concrete outcomes, especially external funding proposals.

This framework includes Research Affinity Groups and Idea Labs.

Research Affinity Groups

Research Affinity Groups bring together researchers interested in common areas of research in health disparities. They are venues for faculty to explore their mutual research interests from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and from there, pursue collaborative products. The faculty in each individual groups provide the direction and organization for the groups work and its intended outcomes.

The groups are a starting point for faculty to identify new collaborators, learn about research projects on campus, and jump-start new activities. The groups anticipate outcomes such as: new collaborations for publications; internal sharing of relationships, data, or equipment, new or next-stage research efforts, sharing of best practices for research teaching.

Faculty have organized around the following areas:

  • Access to healthcare, including the implications of economic status and age
  • Disability
  • Ethnicity, linguistics, and culture
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Mental Health
  • Rural Health
  • Urban Health

Faculty may be involved in more than one group, if desired.

Idea Labs

Idea Labs denote those research groups which are focused on a developing a specific research topic with strong potential to bring in external funding. An Idea Lab may be a sub-set of a single Research Affinity Group, or pull collaborators from multiple Research Affinity Groups.

For purposes of this collaboration framework, Idea Labs must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Representation from more than one disciplinary perspective;
  • A track record in the research area, including funded research and/or publications;
  • Demonstrated mentorship between senior and more junior faculty members;
  • Identified potential funding organizations;
  • Dedicated time from PI(s) and their staff for proposal writing, when a specific funding opportunity is identified.

Please contact the Initiative at with progress towards Idea Labs or for more information.