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Morgan State to launch new Center for Urban Health Equity

Morgan State University, Maryland’s preeminent public urban research university, Wednesday announced plans to launch the university’s first Center for Urban Health Equity.


Dr. Kim Sydnor, dean of Morgan State University’s School for Community Health & Policy, will oversee the new Center for Urban Health Equity. (Photo courtesy of Morgan State University)

Housed within the university’s School of Community Health and Policy (SCHP), the new center will engage in research to address health inequities in Maryland.

The initial launch of the Center for Urban Health Equity at Morgan is being made possible through funds recently received from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and maintained by way of an annual $3 million appropriation commitment from the State of Maryland to the University’s operational budget. For its part, Morgan is dedicating $500,000 from the historic Scott gift to get the new center started, while the majority of the remaining funds have been placed into an endowment to support other strategic initiatives for future generations.

The Center for Urban Health Equity at Morgan will occupy a unique space among the existing state supported centers. Notably, the center will be designed to focus on community-driven interests allowing maximum research energy and effort for immediate allocation and response to the root issues that influence and perpetuate health disparities.

The university plans for the center’s research to be transformative, disruptive, innovative and influential. The center will also seek to provide leadership to a coordinated effort committed to bringing diverse thought and perspectives around establishing a proactive framework for health equity throughout the state and beyond.

There are currently two other centers for health equity in Maryland, one at Johns Hopkins University and the other at the University of Maryland, College Park. In establishing a third at Morgan, with its deep roots in Baltimore and relationships across Maryland, it presents the state with a unique opportunity to leverage the University’s credible voice in research and practice and results-proven public health approach.

The center’s applied research will be designed to provide useful scholarship through transdisciplinary approaches and in collaboration with community partners. The work the Center produces will be based on a framework of social determinants of health with the research going well beyond disease research and designed to prevent and redress root causes of health inequities and proactively work to establish heath equity.

SCHP has also been at the forefront of the University’s response to COVID-19 and ongoing campus preparations and safety efforts. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SCHP researchers have been working with and collaborating with communities and agencies throughout Baltimore to mitigate the dangers of the virus and educating on how to stop spread.

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