Center History

Thomas M. Lasater

The Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity (CHPHE), formerly known as the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER), and prior to that as the Institute for Community Health Promotion (ICHP), was founded as a center in the Brown Program in Public Health in 2002 by Director Thomas M. Lasater, PhD and Deputy Director Kim M. Gans, PhD, MPH with founding members Drs. Catherine Dube and Patricia Risica. This research group came from the Center for Primary Care and Prevention at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Drs. Lasater and Gans initially began working together in 1986 during the historic Pawtucket Heart Health Program study and conducted many other community-based intervention studies together with a growing team of faculty and staff. You can find more information about Dr. Lasater's work on PubMed.

The Center's offices initially were located at the Coro Building, at One Hoppin Street, Providence, RI. We moved to our current offices in the Brown Public Health building at 121 South Main Street in 2006. Dr. Gans succeeded Dr. Lasater as Center director from 2009-2014. Matthew Mimiaga, ScD, MPH became the Center's director in 2015; David Williams, PhD, became director in 2017.

During its October 2016 meeting, the Corporation of Brown University approved the Center's request to change its name to the Center for Health Equity Research. In 2020 the name was changed to Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity. The name change to Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity more accurately encompasses the expanding scope of the Center’s work, which includes health promotion, community health, social and behavioral sciences, as well as work with marginalized populations, both domestic and global.