Health Equity Initiative

The member universities of the Big Ten Academic Alliance along with their state health departments are collaborating to bolster health equity. By understanding and addressing the social determinants of health, the Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative is poised to improve the health outcomes of vulnerable children and infants across the eleven state region of the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

This project has been awarded funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for a one-year planning period.

As the first step in the planning process, the Big Ten Academic Alliance conducted an environmental scan of the challenges and resources within the eleven state footprint.
The results of the scan helped the Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative Leadership Team set the project framework, research and policy agendas, and outline the next steps in the planning process:

  • Research funded under the Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative must be inter-disciplinary and involve both university and state health department partners. The WHO Conceptual Framework for Action on the Social Determinants of Health provides the logic model for the research agenda.  Priorities will be socio-economic and policy factors which impact child health. The purpose of the research will be to provide evidence for the policy analysis agenda. 
  • The project will include a data repository with health data from the eleven states, plus federal and state data from sources such as the Census Bureau, Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Education.  This will allow researchers to use the region as a natural experiment.  State and local policy data, plus data from universities’ primary research will also be included.

With the Initiative focusing on interdisciplinary research into the socioeconomic context and public policies which improve the health equity of children, the Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative will recruit both public health and non-public health researchers. Faculty and staff from the Big Ten Academic Alliance universities and corresponding state departments of health may subscribe to our email list using this link.