About HEAL

The Health Equity Advancement Lab (HEAL) is a group of students, faculty, and staff who are interested in social justice in public health. HEAL provides a space for student and staff learning, discussion around health equity frameworks and principles, and opportunities to collaborate on projects. HEAL seeks to increase the capacity within individuals, agencies, and organizations to promote health equity. For more information on the guiding principles, see “HEAL Principles.”

HEAL is directed by Dr. Shannon Lea Waktins and Jessica Andino. See more on the HEAL Steering Committee.

An article titled “Building Leadership, Capacity, and Power to Advance Heath Equity and Justice through Community-Engaged Research in the Midwest” by Briana Woods-Jaeger, Jason Daniel-Ulloa, Lauren Kleven, Rebecca Bucklin, Adriana Maldonado, Paul A. Gilbert, Edith A. Parker, and Barbara Baquero was published 2020 regarding the development and evolution of HEAL.

HEAL Mission

Health equity occurs when society actively removes barriers that disproportionately affect the health status of particular individuals and groups within a society. HEAL promotes health equity through community engaged public health research and practice, with a particular emphasis on communities in the state of Iowa and surrounding areas who experience inequities.


  1. Provide technical assistance for community engaged research for community and academic partners
  2. Build capacity within the University of Iowa and partner institutions for conducting community and behavioral health research using a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach
  3. Support equitable and sustainable partnerships between community and academic partners at the University of Iowa and partner institutions.

For more information about HEAL, please contact Jessica Andino at jessica-andino@uiowa.edu.