News 2021

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December 2021

Youth Lens Update Featured in Newsletter for Cleveland Youth Participatory Action Research Projects-Part 3




October 2021

Pilot Awardee Quoted in News Channel 5 Cleveland Story

Second Round Pilot Awardee Dr. Vanessa Maier was quoted in the story, “Child advocacy groups, doctors want to see more state funding for school-based health clinics

“We know we have some of the best health care in the world here in Cleveland, but we know not everyone has access to that care. So these partnerships can really expand access to services.” – Dr. Vanessa Maier




Pilot Awardee Receives LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland’s Annual LGBTQ+ Heritage Day Award

Fourth Round Pilot Awardee Dr. Laura Mintz is the recipient of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland’s (a community partner) annual LGBTQ+ Heritage Day Award for Health and Wellness. Congratulations to Dr. Mintz!

Learn more about Dr. Mintz, the award, and LGBTQ+ Heritage Day here.

Learn more about Dr. Mintz and her Pilot Project with the CHEEER here.





CHEEER Massage ABC’s Study featured on Channel 5 News

October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Our study to reduce pain and shoulder immobility for breast cancer survivors following surgery was featured on the Channel 5 news broadcast. View the interview and read the article here.


Study Overview

Register to learn more about this study.


August 2021

Former Pilot Awardee Receives Funding!

Congratulations to Carolyn Harmon Still for being awarded an R01 grant based on her CHEEER Pilot Study!

Learn more about Carolyn and her Pilot Project here.




Pilot Awardee Study Published!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Benninger on having her study published! The study is titled “Conceptualizing Social Determinants of Neighborhood Health through a Youth Lens” and is phase 1 of her children’s neighborhood health study. Read the article below.


June 2021

Youth Lens Update Featured in Newsletter for Cleveland Youth Participatory Action Research Projects-Part 2

(Download Newsletter)


4th Round Pilot Awards

Congratulations to the newest Pilot Awardees Dr. Laura Mintz, Dr. Rachel Pope, and Dr. Owusua Yamoah! We excitedly look forward to their research projects and contribution to the Community Based Research Network. Learn more about the awardees and their projects here.








April 2021

CHEEER Pilot Awardee, Dana Prince, Featured in Two Publications

Dana Prince, PhD (Learn more about the Pilot Awardees)
  1. The first publication attributed to the Pilot Award  received from the CHEEER. Published in Trauma, Violence and Abuse a high impact review journal devoted to organizing, synthesizing, and expanding knowledge on all forms of trauma, abuse, and violence. (View publication here)
  2. An Op-Ed promoting Affirmative Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse Peoples








Thank you to our 2021 Pilot Award Study Section Reviewers!

Thank you to our CHEEER 2021 Study Section for convening and reviewing all of the competitive applications submitted for our $50,000 Pilot Awards to Reduce Health Disparities!  We have sent the top scoring applicants to the NIH for review and will be announcing our selection soon.

The 2021 Study Section: (pictured L-R)

  1. Anne Huml, Researcher, Nephrologist, Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research
    Assistant Professor of Medicine, CWRU
  2. Charlie Bark, MD, Infectious Disease, MetroHealth
  3. Dave Margolius, MD, Division Director of Internal Medicine, MetroHealth
  4. Diane Mastnardo, LMT, Founder, Massage of Northern Ohio Practice Based Network (MNO-PBRN)
  5. Don Allensworth Davies, Associate Professor, CSU Program Coordinator, CEOMPH Program
  6. Doug Einstadter, MD, MPH, Professor, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Center for Health Care Research and Policy, School of Medicine
  7. Doug Gunzler, MA, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, CWRU
  8. Earl Pike, Executive Director, University Settlement
  9. Julie Merker, Director- Health Analytics, Wingspan Care Group
  10. Kurt Stange, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Community Health Integration, School of Medicine, CWRU
  11. Mary Jo Roach, PhD, Staff Scientist, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MetroHealth System, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, CWRU
  12. Patricia Terstenyak, Director of Community Health, The Center for Health Affairs
  13. Ron Hickman, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FAAN, Associate Dean for Research, Center for Research and Scholarship, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
  14. Sumita Khatri, MD MS, Co-Director Asthma Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  15. Swagata Banik, PhD, Dean, Graduate Studies & Research, Baldwin Wallace University
  16. Vidya Krishnan, MD, Pulmonary, Sleep, and Critical Care, MetroHealth
  17. Yvonne Oliver, Community Research Scholar


PHRI Colleague Quoted in Modern Healthcare Article.

Adam Perzynski, Director of the Case Western Reserve University Center for Health Care Research and Policy, was quoted and featured in the Modern Healthcare article titled “How strong relationships and a focused strategy can influence policy” you can view the article below.

(Both the Center for Health Care Research and Policy and the Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research are housed under the MetroHealth Public Health Research Institute.)


March 2021

Youth Lens Update Featured in Newsletter for Cleveland Youth Participatory Action Research Projects




February 2021

Pilot Awardees Podcast Season 2 Available Now!

For more information on Health’s Up click the above image.

Third Round Pilot Awardee, Kristi Westphaln’s Health’s Up podcast launched its second season. The first episode is focused on kids and stress.

Check it out here!




Dr. Ash Sehgal, Co-Director of the CHEEER, Launches New Lecture Series with MetroHealth’s Institute for H.O.P.E.


As part of his new role as Director of Research and Evaluation at MetroHealth’s Institute for H.O.P.E., Dr. Sehgal is launching a new virtual lecture series focusing on social determinants.  The series will feature expert speakers via Zoom/Webex and is open to the public. Two speakers have already been confirmed and scheduled.

For more information on each speaker click on the links below or on the left side images.

Speaker 1: Lauren Gottlieb, MD, MPH

Speaker 2: Rishi Manchanda, MD, MPH












January 2021

Dr. Sehgal to be the New Director of Research and Evaluation for the MetroHealth’s Institute for H.O.P.E.

Ashwini Sehgal, MD, MPH

Our Co-Director, Dr. Sehgal, will be the new Director of Research and Evaluation for the Institute for Health, Opportunity, and Empowerment (HOPE) at The MetroHealth System.  The mission of the Institute for HOPE is to identify and help eliminate barriers to optimal individual and community health and well-being through improving social influencers of health and addressing the root causes of health disparities in the Northeast Ohio region.  In this new role, Dr. Sehgal will foster the missions of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) and the Population Health Innovations Institute (PHII) to generate new knowledge, inform and target health and health care improvement initiatives, and conduct program evaluation to improve the health and health equity of the communities we serve. He will continue to serve as Co-Director with Dr. Daryl Thornton for the CHEEER within the PHRI while supporting enhanced collaboration between PHRI and PHII.



Learn more about MetroHealth’s Institute for H.O.P.E. by clicking on the above image.



Pilot Awardee Hosts Health’s Up Podcast, First Season Complete

After the first season of Health’s Up, the students from Mrs. Simpson’s class from Marion Sterling Elementary School, who participated in the podcast production, came to the IdeaCenter and learned more about public media.

Kristi Wesphaln, PhD RN CNP-PC (Third Round Pilot Awardee) is the host of the Health’s Up podcast. She partnered with ideastream in 2020 to ensure kids could ask questions about health topics and get answer. This was the result after being disheartened that, in Ohio, she is permitted 15 minutes of time for a sick visit with her patients. In an effort to hear more from the kids about what questions they have about their health, and for them to lead the conversation she started the Health’s Up Podcast  with the health reporting team at ideastream.

For more information on the creation of the podcast click here.

For more information on Kristi and her project with the CHEEER click here.

Podcast available on:

Apple Podcasts

NPR site


CHEEER Pilot Awardee to Host Seminar for the Case Western Reserve University Swetland Center for Environmental Health

Dr. Elizabeth Benninger will host the seminar, titled Conceptualizing Social Determinants of Neighborhood Health through a Youth Lens, will draw draws on social determinants of health literature to frame the ways in which youth (ages 14-17) experience historical disadvantage within the neighborhood and how this influences their health outcomes.
Date/Time: 1/26/2021 | 9:00 AM
For information on the seminar visit:
Register at:



CHEEER Pilot Awardee Elizabeth Benninger to Receive $50,000 Grant

Dr. Elizabeth Benninger, PhD

Elizabeth Benninger received a $50,000 award through the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs- Children of Incarcerated Parents (COIP), under a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation(ASPE), and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to conduct a study which explores the experiences and strategies for improving the health and wellbeing of youth with incarcerated parents in the greater Cleveland, OH region. This study forms a sub-study to her larger Youth Lens research project supported by the pilot award through the Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research.

To learn more about Dr. Benninger and her Youth Lens project with the Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research click here


CHEEER Staff featured in The Land article “Global Rising Program Helps Smooth the Road to Successful Networking for Immigrants

Elodie Nonguierma, MPH

Elodie Nonguierma, Health Education Coordinator here at the Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research, was featured in the article for her participation in Global Rising, a nine-month leadership development program. Global Rising, created by Global Cleveland, is designed to help immigrants create a solid foundation in their career trajectory through networking. The article showcases Elodie’s, as well as others’, experience with the program and its benefits. It also provides some background and history of the program itself.

Read the article.



Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research Co-Director to Present Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) Seminar on January 8th, 2021

Ashwini Sehgal, MD, MPH

Co-Director Dr. Ash Sehgal MD, will be presenting a seminar titled “How to Conduct Research on the Health Impacts of Climate Change.”  This talk will provide a framework for thinking about research on the health impacts of climate change. Topics to be covered include an overview of climate hazards and their health impacts, phases of research, examples of research related to heat waves, and challenges in conducting research on climate change. The seminar will be presented via Zoom. For more information download the flyer.

To view this archived seminar visit:

For more information visit the PHRI Seminar page here.

Download the accompanying Powerpoint Slides



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