The University at Buffalo has pledged to tackle the issue of health disparities among marginalized communities in the Queen City through the launch of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute.

The institute brings together community partners, faculty and students from ten UB schools to improve the health of marginalized communities, especially on the East side. 

Studies by the Erie County Health Department show that African Americans living on the east side have higher infant mortality rates and increased risks of heart failure and diabetes in comparison to the white population. 

The study says African Americans living in Buffalo are also dying prematurely.

The institute is a spinoff of the community-wide African American Health Equity Task Force.

"One of the next steps is really to go back to the people in the community and really letting them know, this is for real,” said Pastor George F. Nicolas, African American Health Equity Task Force convener.  “Historically there hasn't been this kind of a linkage between the community and university , but to encourage the folks in the community at the grassroots level that when we begin to start doing things around research and we begin to start having community conversations and things around these issues to get involved and get engaged. "

Nicholas says societal factors like poverty, poor education, housing, and unemployment contribute to health disparities. 

The institute will be studying those factors as part of their research.