Health and Empowerment Action (HEAL)
Director: Joy Agner PhD, OTR/L
The Health and Empowerment Action (HEAL) Lab, directed by Dr. Joy Agner, focuses on improving health systems and services for underserved populations, such as racial minorities, people in poverty, and individuals with chronic disability or severe mental illness, using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach.
Current research projects within HEAL include:
- Examining the impact of care coordination and integrated care on health and quality of life for individuals with multiple, complex health needs
- Understanding how peer support networks, such as those fostered within mental health Clubhouses, impact health literacy, health outcomes, and quality of life
- Advancing theory on cultural humility in occupational science and the use of culturally-informed models to promote health equity among racial minorities, such as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- Advancing theory on empowerment and disempowerment in medical systems, from both individual and structural perspectives
HEAL research utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods, including innovative methods such as Photovoice and social network analysis. Based on the CBPR model, research within HEAL is shaped through ongoing collaboration with community partners, from question development to dissemination, and aims to provide a meaningful and empowering experience for lab members and community partners alike.