What We Do

The Leah Zallman Center’s Braided Pathways of Inquiry and Impact

The Leah Zallman’s Center primary research focus is immigrant health and well-being. Our mixed-methods research agenda is rooted in a set of core beliefs and a rich evidence base, leading to three main paths of inquiry and impact in service of health equity.

Path 1. Health and Healthcare

We believe that all people are equal and have a right to optimal health. However, research shows that in the United States, a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, citizenship status, religion, ability status, socioeconomic status, and more directly affect their health. This is partially due to the fact that our health and social systems were not designed with equity in mind. Therefore, it is not entirely surprising (though unacceptable) when we see evidence of disparities in healthcare access, treatment, and outcomes for immigrants.

We partner with healthcare organizations and go beyond documenting disparities to:

  • Investigate patterns and causes of disparate health outcomes for immigrants in healthcare organizations and systems
  • Test promising or evidence-based practices from pilot programs and interventions designed to advance health equity
  • Identify the impacts of specific place-based or organizational health equity efforts
  • Research and analyze potential policy solutions or recommendations with partners

Path 2. Community Health and SDOH

We believe that uniting immigrants and longstanding residents around common goals builds healthier communities. However, we acknowledge that past and present federal, state, local, and institutional policies and artificial constructs of borders have separated people in our communities, making many immigrants feel unwelcome. These destructive policies are rooted in settler colonialism and anti-Black racism and perpetuate many of today’s health inequities. More work is needed to undo the complex and intertwined structural inequities that shape the well-being of immigrants in the systems where we live, learn, work, pray, and play.

We partner with immigrant integration advocates, practitioners, and policymakers to:

  • Analyze inequities in employment, education, and other social determinants of health (SDOH) that affect the health and
    well-being of immigrants, and identify leverage points for change
  • Assess the links between degree of welcome/integration and health
  • Identify mechanisms that contribute to welcoming organizations and communities
  • Study and lift up the ways in which improvements in immigrant health benefit us all

Path 3. Policies and Narratives

We believe that part of building new equitable systems involves acknowledging past and present harm, bringing people together in ways that challenge longstanding power dynamics, and elevating knowledge from within immigrant communities. Health and longevity are correlated with the ability to self-determine our lives and the path of our communities through political and civic participation.

We build immigrant power through our participatory research methods and partner with advocates and policymakers to:

  • Understand the effects of specific public policies or programs on immigrant health
  • Center immigrant voices in policymaking through participatory action research
  • Analyze narratives and develop new evidence-based counter-narratives demonstrating the contributions of immigrants to the health and prosperity of our communities