Communicating Equity & Healing Justice (CEHJ) Research Lab

CEHJ research lab is an inspiring collection of scholars who seek to eliminate health inequities and disparities among Black women and within Black communities through critical interdisciplinary approaches to health.  
Our mission is to:
  1. Unpack the burden of intersectional oppressions and their contributions to health inequities and disparities 
  2. Co-translate research into meaningful community engagement
  3. Conduct community outreach to promote health equity
  4. Promote healing justice through critical consciousness-raising and advocacy

Our research is dedicated to dismantling barriers in promoting health and wellness among Black women and within Black communities. In particular, the CEHJ research lab focuses on intersections between mental health, racism, and psychosocial factors and health outcomes. Some of our current research addresses internalized racism and perinatal health, mental health and leadership, and identify healing strategies. These strategies include communal conceptualizations of resilience, increasing critical consciousness, and destigmatizing mental health.

Our research informs the development of deep structure interventions tailored to Black women and communities. Our data is also used to assist health practitioners and providers minimize disparities and health inequities impacting Black women.

The CEHJ Research Lab is committed to building community-based and interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse community members, faculty, and other stakeholders to better understand and promote Black women's health and Black mental health. We are also committed to mentoring diverse students in research to provide opportunities for growth, realization, and collaborative teamwork.

Some of our current research projects include:

  • Dr. Akila-Ka Ma’at, PI
      • Community Assessment of Racial Experiences and Stress (CARES) among Perinatal Black women
        • In collaboration with Dr. Karen Grace, School of Nursing and Dr. Amira Roess, Epidemiology and Community Health, GMU
          • Research Assistants
            • Breonna Riddick, Doctoral Candidate, CHSS
            • J. Robinson, Doctoral Candidate, CHSS
            • Ashley Dawson, MPH Student, CHHS
            • Briana Dawson, MPH Student, CHHS
            • Shane Rodney, Advanced Nursing Program, George Washington University
            • Sahana Natarajan, MA Biomedical Engineering, CAAHDER Research Program Associate
      • Black women making sense of resilience in health: A grounded theory systematic literature review
        • In collaboration with the Center for African American Health Disparities Education and Research, Inc.
          • Research Assistant
            • Noora Alvi, Neuroscience, Undergraduate OSCAR Student
      • Developing a perinatal mobile application to improve Black birth outcomes
        • In collaboration with Dr. Brittany Johnson-Mattews, INSPIRE Lab, Computer Science, GMU
          • Research Assistant
            • Ebtesam Haque, INSPRE Lab, Computer Science, GMU
  • Dr. Tianna Cobb, PI
      • Memorable messages about mental health: Which messages do you pass on?
      • Black Twitter and #Blackmentalhealth: The framing of mental health messages shared on Black Twitter
      • Black women leaders combatting mental health stigma within Black churches