The Health Psychologist

Society for Health Psychology

Health Research Council Promotes EDI-Related Research

2024 Spring, Research highlights, The Health Psychologist

Joshua C. Eyer, PhD
Chair, SfHP Health Research Council
Director, Southern Regional Drug Data Research Center
Institute of Data & Analytics, Culverhouse College of Business
University of Alabama
Health psychology holds an important place in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), both within the discipline and in society. Over the last year, the Health Research Council (HRC) of the Society for Health Psychology (SfHP) developed a strategy and multiple efforts to amplify health psychology research that both implements and highlights efforts to promote EDI. The plan is congruent with the APA Framework and responds to its charge from SfHP’s Long-Range Plan to enrich member resources with new knowledge and content related to EDI.  We are proud to share a description of this strategy and these efforts with you.
SfHP has a long history of seeking greater equity, diversity, and inclusion. Highlighting this are important division-wide efforts in creating a Diversity Council, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, earmarked Early-Career Professional (ECP) roles across divisional leadership, awards focused on EDI-related activities, and a recent in-progress review of the SfHP Handbook for inclusive language and equity-promoting updates.  The Society is fortunate to have active, often early-career voices that advocate for corrective change, responsible leadership, and a receptive membership that helps keep the Society in the vanguard of APA divisions on EDI work and effectively mirroring the efforts of our parent organization the American Psychological Association (APA; see the APA EDI Initiative and Framework below).
The HRC envisions the promotion of EDI-related health psychology research as having three important prongs: Best Practices, Rigorous Evaluation, and Impactful Research. As such, health psychology research programming should 1) share best practices for engaging health psychology research that is attentive to EDI considerations; 2) promote research that uses rigorous methods to evaluate and refine EDI initiatives and interventions; and 3) amplify health psychology research that addresses inequities in health, work, and society. The efforts below demonstrate the HRC’s recent and future work to cover each of these important elements. We believe that the explicit enrichment of SfHP member experience through the dissemination of research is a core function of the HRC, and we are enthusiastic in applying this to EDI-related research. 
Member Programming – Webinars. HRC provides multiple research-related webinars each year. In addition to two other scheduled webinars to present updated information about a current topic in health psychology research (October 17, 2024) and to host an information session for potential applicants about the Graduate Student Research Awards (November 20, 2024), HRC has recently coordinated/planned several webinars with important EDI elements.
  • March 21, 2024: “DEI Principles and Practice in Psychology Undergraduate and Graduate Education” (CEs available)
  • June 20, 2024: “Provider Flourishing and Burnout” (Tentative title; CEs planned)
  • Forecast (date TBD):  “Reducing Racism-Related Health Disparities” We are working with Dr. Carolyn Tucker to schedule a webinar presentation of her SfHP Presidential Address from the 2023 APA Convention (CEs planned)
  • November 2024: “Overview of the Graduate Research Awards” (with past winners)
Member Programming – Publicizing Recent Research Series. As part of our effort to highlight health psychology research, we publish a monthly post to the listserv where an HRC member provides a brief summary of a recent publication. In the last year, these have included manuscripts about the collection of transgender data in electronic health records; the importance of the health psychologist role in medical professional training with resources for anti-racism training; innovations in methodological approaches to measuring social determinants of health for explaining cardiovascular disease risk in African American women; and notably, a summary of a recent letter to Health Psychology by two of the most senior leaders of the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Dr. Monica Webb Hooper (a clinical health psychologist) and Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable entitled, “Health Equity Is Not Possible Without Addressing Disparities.”
Member Programming – Research Highlight in THP. Each quarter, HRC assists the editor of The Health Psychologist (THP) to develop a Research Highlight for each issue of the E-Zine. In this issue, the highlight focuses on EDI with an article by Dr. Chandra Char, “DEI in Research: Overview and Recommendation for a Culturally Humble Approach.” SfHP members are invited to propose their own EDI-related health psychology research topics for future THP E-Zine issues! (Please reach out to Dr. Allison Carroll,
Member Programming – Other Resources. Other efforts in the last few years created EDI resources for members. HRC led the development of the SfHP Repository of Health Disparity-Related Literature. And in 2021, we collaborated with SfHP Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Tanecia Blue, to create “5 Tips for Improving Equity in Health-Related Research”.
Convention Programming. Each year, HRC proposes APA Convention Programming. Last year, we collaborated on a symposium on DEI principles in psychology education “Meaningfully Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Graduate School” that was expanded and delivered this year as a webinar (see above). For 2024, we proposed a symposium, “Where is DEI going? The Future of Evidence-Based EDI Programs” that will provide discussion of the current sociopolitical context of EDI initiatives, frameworks for evaluation, a review of evidence, and new research on a precision behavioral EDI intervention that applies assesses stages of change to test and tailor an EDI intervention. These grow from previous programming, such as the symposium presented at APA 2021: “What did you just say?” Strategies to Reduce Overt and Subtle Discrimination in Healthcare Settings.”
Graduate Student Research Awards. HRC oversees the Society’s graduate student research awards every year. These include two awards that have an EDI emphasis. The “Research Addressing Health Disparities Award” supports health psychology research focusing on various health conditions that are more prevalent, serious, or specific to disadvantaged and medically underserved groups, or on healthcare inequities relevant to these groups, specifically, ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in rural and urban areas. The “Research Award to Promote Inclusion,” a new award first granted in 2019, resulted from work by HRC to support graduate students from underrepresented groups with funding to complete a health psychology research project. Previous winners and project titles may be viewed here. Keep an eye out for webinars with past and future winners to present their findings to members in a virtual format! Read more about the graduate student research awards application process here.
As evidenced by these efforts, the HRC is a robust and active council of SfHP. With 17 members from a wide range of research areas, it includes seven early-career members, a student member, an international member, representatives of multiple minoritized groups, and formal liaisons to the Diversity Council, Student Advisory Council, and Early-Career Professionals Council. Engagement varies from a few months to many years, and members serve in other capacities on other councils (e.g., Clinical Health Services, Membership) and in other important positions (APA Science Directorate Member, Dr. Matthew Burg). The council meets monthly and over ad-hoc meetings around specific activities. If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Allison Carroll ( for more information how you can become involved.
The efforts described above represent the work of the HRC to respond to the charge of SfHP through its Long-Range Plan. Our EDI strategy emerges in response to the following items. 
  • We have engaged EDI efforts within the framework of Communications Goal 4: Enhance use of evidence-based resources and increase messaging about the science of health psychology. (c) Charge the HRC with preparing programming in science as follows: webinars (at least 2 annually), targeted activities with the Science directorate, and annual meeting programming. (HRC-specific)
  • Under Communications Goal #5: Disseminate DEI-oriented scientific research and APA-supported policy statements including, but not limited to: (b) Highlight work being done in underrepresented communities and/or by health psychologists who are historically underrepresented. 
  • Under DEI Goal #4: Plan, execute, and monitor education activities to: (b) Document progress and challenges in research related to DEI. (HRC-specific)
  • Under DEI Goal #6: Develop SfHP resources to provide members with health-related DEI information or opportunities, such as: (c) Provide exemplars of successful investigations/investigators in health-related studies with DEI components, to serve as models. (HRC-specific)
  • Under Education & Training Goal #2: Enhance training in research practicalities for students, ECPs, and experienced members. b. Promote training opportunities in newer research design, data collection methods, and data analytics, including cost-effectiveness analyses. Topics such as health policy, intervention translation, support for provider implementation are also relevant. (HRC-specific)

HRC is pleased to support the EDI goals of the society as described above and looks forward to future opportunities to promote health psychology EDI research that shares best practices, promotes rigorous methodological approaches, and addresses inequities in health, work, and society.


Webb Hooper, M., & Pérez-Stable, E. J. (2023). Health equity is not possible without addressing disparities. Health Psychology, 42(9), 625–627.
Corresponding author: Dr. Monica Webb Hooper (

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