About the Center for Health Equity

The Center for Health Equity is a vital and long-anticipated addition to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, created to address inequities in health and access to care in Aurora and beyond. Initially founded in fall 2021, the center was established to advance community health and wellness by addressing structural sources of inequity and creating opportunities through learning, service, research and advocacy. The Center for Health Equity works in close collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement and the Aurora Wellness Community, in partnership with local communities.

Vision: Inclusive communities where all individuals and families have the knowledge, resources and support to thrive.

Mission: Advance community health, wealth and well-being by dismantling racism, oppression and other systemic drivers of inequity to create equitable opportunities through learning, service, research and advocacy.

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Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD, MPH, was named inaugural Executive Director of the Center for Health Equity at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in January 2024. With more than 25 years of research and program development work in disease prevention and public health promotion among diverse populations, Dr. Parra-Medina brings a distinctive skill set and perspective to the center.

Dr. Parra-Medina is an epidemiologist by training, and she has dedicated her career to advancing public health and addressing health disparities through collaborative research spanning rural, urban and border settings. She has an extensive background in community-based research and health promotion, as well as chronic disease prevention and control interventions with underserved communities including women, youth, Latinos, immigrants and economically disadvantaged populations. 

She served previously as director of the Latino Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also served as endowed chair and professor of Mexican American and Latina/o studies. Before joining UT Austin, she served as a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. A California native, she holds a PhD in epidemiology from the University of California San Diego and a master’s degree in public health from San Diego State University.

Q&A with Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD, MPH

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