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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion


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CHERP Impact

Impact of CHERP Research

CHERP maximizes the impact of health equity research.

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CHERP Leadership


Judith Long, MD; Melissa Dichter, PhD, MSW; Sonya Borrero, MD, MS; Michael Fine, MD, MSc.

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CHERP programs foster academic research career development and increase VA and national capacity for rigorous health equity & health services research

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CHERP Overview

The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) is a VA HSR&D Center of Innovation (COIN). We are a dual-site, cross-VISN center, with investigators in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

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Funded Projects



Title 1 ImageFunded Projects

CHERP investigators lead or collaborate on projects supported by HSR&D, AHRQ, and NIH. Many of these projects are aligned with our focus on the quality and equity of health and health care for vulnerable populations. CHERP investigators are also engaged in other funded initiatives.

Our Pilot Research Program continues to catalyze funding of full-scale research projects aligned with our mission.

Click the link below for a list of the funded projects that CHERP investigators are currently involved.

CHERP Investigator Research Activities and Collaborations

Equality vs. justiceDisparities

Health disparity is defined as clinically and statistically significant differences in health care or health status between distinct vulnerable and less vulnerable populations linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage and an elevated burden of ill health or premature mortality. Such disparities adversely affect groups who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health or health care based on numerous characteristics linked to discrimination or exclusion.
The categories and/or domains of disparities research can include:


  • Examples of Vulnerable Populations
    • Race/Ethnicity
    • Gender
    • Socioeconomic
    • Sexual orientation
    • Stigmatizing medical diagnoses (e.g., HIV, mental health, PTSD)
  • Generations of Disparities Research
    • First Generation - Detecting variation
    • Second Generation - Identifying reasons for disparities
    • Third Generation - Intervening on disparities
  • Factors Associated with Disparities Research
    • Patient level
    • Provider level
    • System level
  • Disparities Research Methods
    • Qualitative Research
    • Mixed Methods Research
    • Implementation Research
    • Analysis of existing databases


This Resources page is in progress.  Check back frequently for newly added information...


CHERP Investigators may access the CHERP SharePoint Site by clicking on the CHERP link below
. note: Access to CHERP SharePoint resources via this link is limited to CHERP Investigators, must be done from a VA computer, and requires your VA log-in credentials.

CMCVAMC CHERP Investigators may access the Grants SharePoint Site by clicking on the Grants link below. note: Access to Grants SharePoint resources via this link is limited to CHERP Investigators, must be done from a VA computer, and requires your VA log-in credentials.

The Veterans Health Administration (VA) provides care for individuals who are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, older, and poorer than the general population. Although VA provides a health care safety net, disparities in health and health care exist for many vulnerable Veteran populations and are associated with increased risks of disability, illness, and death. In addition to individual, provider, and health system factors, disparities may originate outside of the health care system and involve personal behaviors and social and community influences. As a health system committed to delivering high-quality, equitable care to all Veterans, VA must identify vulnerable populations, understand the root causes of disparities, and assess interventions to eliminate them.

The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion’s mission is to advance the quality and equity of health and health care for vulnerable Veterans.The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion advances the quality and equity of health and health care for vulnerable Veteran populations through:

  • Rigorous health services research
  • Partnerships with VA operations and policy stakeholders
  • Research training and mentoring
  • Service

As a national Center of Innovation, we have advanced our cross-center research program through partnerships aimed at improving health care experiences and patient satisfaction with VA health care among vulnerable populations. We also have supported an emerging area of research concentrated on improving the quality, safety, and value of clinical therapeutics in the VA and beyond.

CHERP leaders consistently respond to new opportunities to communicate the value of our research to VA leaders charged with ensuring the quality and equity of health care for millions of Veterans. CHERP Investigators are at the forefront of efforts to evaluate the impact of VA's implementation of the patient-aligned care team model of care and efforts to translate VA research findings into clinical practice.

About Our History

The VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) was established in 2001 by HSR&D as a national Center of Excellence focused on detecting, understanding, and reducing disparities in health and health care in vulnerable populations. This strong collaboration between the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) and Philadelphia VA Medical Center (PVAMC) in VISN4 and their respective academic affiliates (University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania) was built upon the collective and complementary strengths of the investigators at both sites to target an area of investigation of highest priority to the VA Healthcare System and the nation as a whole. Built upon a track record of scholarship, cross-center research collaborations, development and retention of highly accomplished investigators, service, and well-established partnerships, CHERP became a Center of Innovation (COIN) that has measurable impact on the quality and equity of Veteran health care.

About Our Investigators

Over the past decade, CHERP investigators conducted innovative, high impact health services research; advanced the conceptual underpinnings of health equity research to facilitate the work of others; partnered with operations and policy leaders on research and quality improvement initiatives; promoted the implementation and dissemination of findings to improve the clinical care and health outcomes of Veterans; and supported the development of junior investigators who have become leaders in this field. CHERP provides infrastructure and support for approximately 37 core investigators engaged in health services research at the VA Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Crescenz (Philadelphia) VA Medical Center. These physicians, nurses, and PhD investigators have broad expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods, including clinical trials, quality improvement, clinical epidemiology, large database analysis, pharmacoeconomics, psychometrics, econometrics, decision and cost-effectiveness analysis, meta-analysis, technology assessment, and implementation science. An additional 25 non-core investigators collaborate with CHERP core investigators to advance our mission and strategic goals.

About Service

CHERP Investigators fulfill not only national service roles, but also fulfill important service roles across a broad array of academic societies, research organizations, and within their local VAMCs, VISN4, and affiliated universities.  CHERP investigators hold national leadership roles that position them to shape health care policy, improve clinical care, and impact research priorities and dissemination.

The Veteran Experience Center (formerly PROMISE)
The Center for Evaluation of Patient Aligned Care Teams
Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Care

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Funding Opportunities

HSR&D Pilot and Merit Review

Next round:  Spring 2019

 VISN4 CHERP Pilot Funding FY19

The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), a VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Center of Innovation, has recommended three new pilot projects for funding to begin on October 1, 2018.  Congratulations to • Leslie Hausmann, PhD,  Determining the Feasibility of Using Natural Language Processing to Identify Source of Patient Perceptions of Discrimination from Provider Notes; • Lena Makaroun, MD, MS, Describing Characteristics and Identifying Potential Risk Factors for Older Veterans Who May be Experiencing Abuse or Neglect; • Ravi Parikh, MD, MPP, Disparities in Treatment Patterns and Survivorship Care Among Veterans with Advanced Prostate Cancer