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Center on Health, Risk, and Society

The Center on Health, Risk and Society partners with numerous other centers, departments and schools across American University and includes faculty and students from within the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of International Studies, the School of Public Affairs, the School of Education and the Washington School of Law. Colleagues from George Washington University, Howard University, Georgetown University, the University of Maryland, the DC Center for AIDS Research and other academic and research institutions in the DC area are also engaged in the intellectual community that serves as the foundation for CHRS.

Affiliated faculty research focuses on community and economic empowerment, stigma and discrimination, mindfulness, spatial and place-based dynamics, social networks, community disruption, immigration, housing and drug policies, and incarceration and law enforcement, and as they relate to health topics and areas such as: HIV, TB, Zika, gender-based violence, substance use, reproductive health, adolescent and child health.


The mission of the Center on Health, Risk and Society(CHRS), founded in 2010, is to promote and support transformative, multi-disciplinary research to understand and address the social context and structural drivers of health and risk across settings.

Guiding Principles

Guiding principles around which CHRS is structured include:

  • Convene: CHRS convenes AU faculty and external experts to strategize on critical questions and challenges related to its mission, including those which connect to university based and local, national, and international priorities. A CHRS annual research symposium, and other public events focus on the exploration of ideas and opportunities where AU is well-positioned to engage in collaborative, impactful, multi-disciplinary research around the socio-structural context of health and risk. 
  • Connect: CHRS will ensure that CHRS faculty affiliates and Research Fellows have strategic resources, including tailored and person-centered grant support to be successful in securing, implementing, and sustaining externally funded research.
  • Create: CHRS fosters external visibility and impact by offering assistance to Research Fellows, as well as more established investigators and teams, in conceptualizing, designing, implementing and disseminating their independent research agendas.


Pre-Conference on Health Systems Research in Latin America & the Caribbean

October 22, 2019
The goal of the pre-conference is to enhance the debate on the design and implementation of policies for more equitable and effective health systems and services. Participation is open and free of charge. HSG will provide certificates to presenters and participants. Abstracts are due on September 15, 2019, and the results will be communicated on September 22, 2019. Learn more about the pre-conference.
Abstract Submission

President Burwell kicks off CHRS Research Symposium

The symposium, Models, Maps and Measures: Methodological Innovations on the Social Determinants of HIV Symposium, was sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, CHRS and the DC Center for AIDS Research and brought together representatives from the National Institutes of Health and other government research agencies; local, national and international researchers; AU faculty, administration and students; and local and international community representatives.

Hands sharing grain.

Including Stigma, Social Cohesion & HIV Outcomes among Vulnerable Women across Epidemic Settings.

CHRS Projects

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