Message from the Director

Health disparities are differences in health, disease burden, clinical decisions and/or outcomes associated with disadvantage. Established by the Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors in November 2005, the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Health Disparities (VCU CoHD) is designed to mitigate and ultimately eliminate health disparities. The VCU CoHD brings together a broad panel of experts from the academic and research communities of VCU as well as from the Richmond community. The panel is supported by dedicated leadership, members, staff and a steering committee to achieve its mission.


Our Mission

To develop and facilitate research, education, access to health care services and workforce diversity initiatives that will eliminate health disparities for populations in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Key areas of focus:

Research Training Programs
We recruit and mentor racial and ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups at all levels with the goal of diversification of the scientific research and health care workforce, an important strategy toward eliminating health disparities.Health Disparities Research
Our faculty conducts research that advances the understanding of the development and progression of diseases and disabilities that contribute to health disparities. We provide leadership and coordination of administrative functions that facilitate health disparities research.Community Engagement
We create partnerships to help community members take action to reduce health disparities by understanding and addressing the social, structural and environmental factors that are connected to the state of health in their communities.


Our Organization

Our faculty members have primary or secondary appointments in departments of the university and we continually seek new members and collaborators with the Center.

The year 2020 marked the Center’s 15th year. We are humbled by the success of our research, research training and community engagement initiatives that have uniquely positioned VCU to provide health disparities education and advocacy, as well as, build collaborative partnerships that facilitate scientific discovery. We look to the future with enthusiasm as we continue to identify opportunities for collaboration with the tremendously creative and talented academicians, administrators, staff and researchers across VCU and in partnership with dedicated and committed members of our community. Together, we seek to facilitate and conduct innovative research and craft solutions that will contribute to the elimination of health disparities.

We have had tremendous support from our university leadership, our colleagues and our community partners who share our mission and vision. We thank them and solicit their continued support.

Welcome to the VCU Center on Health Disparities. Thank you for visiting our website. We hope that you will learn more about us and consider how you might join us in working toward our mission of eliminating health disparities!


Karen Hendricks-Munoz, MD, MPH
William Tate Graham Professor of Pediatrics
Chair of the Division of Neonatal Medicine
Inaugural Vice Chair of Faculty Development & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Department of Pediatrics