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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

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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.

The Veterans who get their healthcare from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are more likely to be from racial and ethnic minorities, older, and poorer than the general population in the U.S. Although VHA 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.

CHERP 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

CHERP Strategic Goals

  • Goal1

    Advance understanding of the determinants of the quality and equity of health and health care and design, test, implement, and evaluate interventions to improve health and health care for vulnerable populations (primary focus).

  • Goal2

    Improve the health and health care of Veterans through HSR that investigates the usage patterns, efficacy, comparative effectiveness, safety, value, and equity of clinical therapeutics (secondary focus), and through other innovative HSR beyond our focus areas

  • Goal3

    Increase partnerships, collaborations, and stakeholder engagement to maximize the relevance and impact of our research

  • Goal4

    Enhance mentoring, training, and educational programs to increase VA capacity for HSR in high-priority areas, implementation science, and partnered research.

  • Goal5

    Provide service and leadership to key internal and external stakeholders.

  • Goal6

    Augment infrastructure to conduct high-impact HSR, support the translation of research into clinical practice and policy, and develop research methods and products of value to stakeholders.

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.

Our Investigators

CHERP investigators have 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 29 core investigators engaged in health services research at the VA Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.


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