About Us



The mission of this institute is to generate scientific knowledge needed to promote health equity and social justice, and reduce disparities in health, mental health, and well-being.

Message from the Director

Despite tremendous advances in health care, the benefits of these advances have not been equally shared across communities. Many communities experience disparities in health, mental health, and well-being and at the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research our teams of interdisciplinary researchers, students and community partners are engaged in a wide-range of efforts to prevent and reduce these health disparities associated with race, gender, neighborhood, immigration status, sexual orientation, and other stigmatized or marginalized statuses.

We focus attention on the social and economic determinants of health and mental health and increasing understanding of the factors that challenge health and well-being and those that promote community strength and resilience. Our teams are engaged in the development of strategies to reduce disparities through intervention and policy aimed at promoting health equity and social justice.  

Disparities in health and mental health arise and persist as the result of complex individual, community, societal and global factors. At the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research we bring together faculty and students from across Northeastern University’s many departments and colleges, along with our research partners, to tackle these complex challenges. Our teams draw upon a wide range of research methods and intervention strategies but share common commitments to promoting health equity and social justice through high-impact, community engaged research.


The Institute on Urban Health Research was first funded in 2001 as part of Provost’s initiative and was led by its Founding Director, Dr. Hortensia Amaro. The IUHR was formed as a university-wide research center that would engage faculty and students from diverse disciplines. It later was moved into Bouvé College of Health Sciences, which remains our home college.

Later the Institute name was amended to The Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice under the leadership of John Auerbach. In 2018, with the appointment of Dr. Alisa K. Lincoln as the Institute Director, we have changed our name and are now the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research.

The Institute remains committed to the core mission first established in 2001 to improve the health and well-being of the residents of Boston and other urban communities. The Institute is focused on the social determinants of health in urban settings, the promotion of health equity and the elimination of health disparities. However, with the growth of the Institute, our ongoing work with diverse groups of students, faculty and community partners, and the current scientific and social needs, we have rearticulated our mission to include greater attention to health equity and social justice and to reflect our partnerships with the growing number of communities impacted by inequity and social marginalization.