UConn Institutes and Centers Engaging in Health Behavior Research

The following institutes and centers at UConn have expertise in a variety of health-related research. This list is provided as a resource, to help connect researchers interested in health across disciplinary domains. If you would like to add your institute or center to this list, please email boundaryspanners@chip.uconn.edu.

The research priorities of the Alcohol Research Center include a focus on the neurophysiologic or neuropsychological, genetic and psychological factors to predict a variety of outcomes among adolescents at risk for developing alcohol and other substance abuse problems; studies of several stress-related pathways that may increase the susceptibility for developing heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems among college students; studies of novel treatments for alcohol dependence, and; a program of translational, dissemination, and educational activities that are integrated with the Center’s theme, investigators, and research programs. A final focus is a program of research devoted to identifying genes and genetic pathways that contribute to vulnerability for substance use disorders.
With the overarching goal of advancing and generating new knowledge of pain mechanisms and improving the delivery of safe and effective methods to promote pain relief across populations and settings, the Center for Advancement in Managing Pain provides a collaborative infrastructure for pain management professionals and academic researchers from across disciplines to establish translational programs of research, implement pain education, and develop innovative strategies for advancing the practice of precision pain management. Faculty involved in CAMP have expertise ranging from basic science methodologies for studying pain to individual, group, population and systems-level analysis of pain management strategies and outcomes. Cross-cutting areas include pain mechanisms, psychological, behavioral, and integrative and complementary interventions, substance abuse and addiction, and pain self-management interventions.
The Center for Correctional Health Networks will develop and foster academic, clinical, community, industry, and correctional health research partnerships to provide opportunities for research and practice experiences with real-world correctional health issues, problems, and challenges to effect improved clinical outcomes; promote inter-professional innovation for implementation and dissemination of evidence-based initiatives to facilitate uptake into correctional health practice; engage clinical research scholars and health professionals in correctional health research and education opportunities to enhance the workforce; support evidence-based initiatives through legislative and policy approaches which effectively meet the clinical needs of persons with an incarceration experience while addressing safety concerns to effect system changes, and; assure successes are disseminated to improve clinical outcomes.
The Center for Environmental Health and Health Promotion at the University of Connecticut promotes environmental health and health promotion-related teaching, research and public engagement. The major activities of the Center include addressing local, national and global environmental health and health promotion concerns. The vision of the Center is based on the belief that there is a reciprocal relationship between the environment and human health. The physical environment can impact individual and community health, especially upon exposed to toxic substances, irritants, infectious agents or physical hazards in homes, schools or at work. The physical environment also can promote good health by providing clean and safe places for people to work, exercise, eat, and play. With this understanding, the activities of the center include sponsoring conferences in environmental health, health promotion and wellness, epidemiology and disease surveillance, toxicology, and related laboratory sciences. The center will provide funding to support graduate students projects in the areas of environmental health or health promotion research. As noted in the US Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 report, lifestyle choices have significant impacts on chronic diseases. Thus, promoting healthy eating, tobacco avoidance and increased physical activity is of the utmost importance. We share the stated goal of this initiative “…to help individuals of all ages increase life expectancy and improve their quality of life by promoting lifestyle behavior and environment conducive to healthy life for all.”
The Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CESE) supports multidisciplinary research that strengthens the scientific understanding of complex and evolving natural- and human-dominated systems, monitors environmental quality, informs sound stewardship, and enlightens environmental policy. CESE cultivates and advances environmental initiatives that transcend departments, schools, and colleges by facilitating communication and developing partnerships in all fields associated with environmental sciences and engineering. CESE also houses a state-of-the-art core analytical laboratory that provides essential services for faculty members, graduate students, and other collaborators, including state and federal agencies as well as the private sector. The laboratories have developed a large number of analytical methods to detect and quantify a broad range of organic and inorganic materials at extremely trace levels in samples from biological tissues, water, soils, and the atmosphere.
The Center serves to promote interdisciplinary scientific collaboration, training, and outreach related to human development and health in cultural context. A core activity of the Center is in an interdisciplinary graduate and faculty seminar, offered biennially in the Spring semester in coordination with a colloquium series. This seminar begins a sequence leading to the Graduate Certificate in Culture, Health, and Human Development. Activities of the Center press for a more systematic understanding of cultural influence than is usually available and a more integrated consideration of cultural forces in programmatic and policy interventions.
The Center on Aging is dedicated to providing high quality comprehensive care for older adults, training the next generation of leaders in geriatric medicine and gerontology, and conducting research which will improve the independence, function, and quality of life for older adults. The research faculty at the Center, including clinical investigators, basic scientists, and researchers conducting health outcome population studies, are all committed to increasing our knowledge of the aging process and to the discovery of new strategies for promoting functional health and quality of life for older adults.
Senior management at the Child Health and Development Institute are doctoral level professionals overseeing initiatives in the areas of children’s health, mental health, and early childhood. The Institute specializes in developing, testing, and implementing effective models of care in these areas of interest. CHDI has expertise in policy and system development as critical factors supporting the delivery of effective health care. Because of CHDI’s involvement in statewide initiatives, the Institute has developed working relationships with child-serving agencies, community-based mental health providers, pediatric primary care, and other health care system stakeholders throughout Connecticut.
The mission of the Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH) is to facilitate innovative and impactful connections across research, policy, and practice arenas relevant to school and child health. CSCH serves as a central resource to university and external partners engaged in efforts that inform healthy, safe, supportive, and engaging environments for all children.
CT IBACS research priorities include brain and cognitive science, loosely construed, from bench neuroscience to cognitive behavior, genomics to brain imaging, and brain to mind to body. The mission of the Institute is to serve as both a beacon and incubator for research across the brain and cognitive sciences, promoting and supporting interdisciplinary science of the mind and its realization in biological and artificial systems. It will enable new research and educational opportunities for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty to extend their intellectual reach beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, as well as enable undergraduates to receive laboratory-based training in neuroscientific, behavioral, and theoretical research in the brain and cognitive sciences.
The Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center supports the Connecticut Department of Transportation in developing and maintaining a state-of-the-art crash data entry, collection, and safety analysis system. The goals of the Center include providing efficient tools for the collection and analysis of crash data, tracking and documenting safety improvements and needs in Connecticut, developing outreach programs to target Connecticut-specific safety concerns, and conducting transportation research that has state, national, and global implications and applications.
The Health Disparities Institute aims to reduce disparities by turning ideas shown to work into policies and actions. As such, HDI has two divisions both focused on different aspects of practical benefit research in Connecticut. One is focused on enhancing the value of health insurance to improve access to care and reduce the complexities of insurance that have a disproportionate impact on poor, minority communities, and those lacking English language proficiency. The other is focused on developing, testing, and evaluating health promotion programming for CT citizens including the homeless, young fathers, and African-American women seeking to develop a healthy lifestyle. Faculty at HDI have expertise in designing and analyzing research studies that include multiple sources of data and methods of analysis, in developing, utilizing and teaching health disparities methods, and in designing and conducting community-based interventions that translate evidence-based practices to benefit underserved populations.
Core faculty members affiliated with HRI’s Research Program on Global Health and Human Rights investigate a wide variety of topics. Individual faculty interests include food policy and food insecurity, mental health of refugees and asylum seekers, medication adherence among vulnerable populations, the impact of disparities on access to clinical care, human rights and intellectual property, health and human rights theory, right to health activism, health-related deservingness, dignity and health, and divergence and convergence among contemporary “idioms of social justice mobilization” for health. The Program hosts public events that bring new insights and critical perspective to contemporary questions of global health and human rights, and hosts a faculty working group that involves members across the University’s various schools and campuses.
InCHIP is a multidisciplinary research institute dedicated to the creation and dissemination of new scientific knowledge and theoretical frameworks in the areas of health behavior, health behavior change, and health intervention and prevention at multiple levels of analysis. The Institute serves as a nexus for investigators at UConn and other institutions to stimulate collaborative partnerships for the development of major research initiatives in health behavior. Through its network of over 400 affiliate investigators from more than 60 research institutions both nationally and internationally, InCHIP assembles teams of investigators able to respond within short timeframes to large-scale funding opportunities as they arise.
Climate change, vector-borne disease, and invasive species are reducing the sustainability and resilience of ecological and social systems across Connecticut and the world. We must understand these potential biological risks to promote sustainability and mitigate emerging threats to agriculture, natural resources, human health, and the economy. We are establishing the first global institute that focuses on biological risks by building on UConn’s internationally recognized strengths in global change biology and concurrently by developing bridges between UConn and Connecticut’s government, businesses, and non-profit organizations.
The mission of the Korey Stringer Institute is to provide research, education, advocacy, and consultation to maximize performance, optimize safety, and prevent sudden death in the athlete, soldier, and laborer. The Institute uses the UConn Department of Kinesiology’s Human Performance Laboratory primarily for research involving thermal stress, hydration, and elite athlete performance. Some of KSI’s largest initiatives are focused on advancing health and safety policies and procedures within the various levels of athletic competition, military performance, and labor to help prevent sudden death during physical activity. Available instruments and equipment in the Laboratory include such for biochemical, physiological, and metabolic research, exercise physiology and physical training research, and motion-capture research.
The mission of the Rudd Center is to promote solutions to childhood obesity, poor diet, and weight bias through research and policy. Rudd is committed to interrupting the cycle of food inequality by conducting research to inform advocacy and policy, supporting evidence-based solutions, challenging the status quo, and holding the food industry, media, government, and others that affect the food environment accountable for their actions.
The Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy is driven by excellence in quantitative and policy oriented economic research on problems confronting food and energy markets, the use of natural resources, and the environment. The intent is to provide practical recommendations to improve the functioning of markets and related government policies and to advance and disseminate knowledge that impacts public policies to improve society’s welfare. Signature programs include policies related to Food Marketing and Industrial Organization, Environmental and Natural Resources Economics, and Economic Development. Key users include private firms, consumer organizations, non-profit organizations, scholars, public agencies, and policy makers.