Indiana CTSI offers new project development team on structural and social determinants of health

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The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) has launched a project development team (PDT) for structural and social determinants of health. The new PDT committee is chaired by the University of Notre Dame’s Nitesh Chawla, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and the founding director of the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society.

The structural and social determinants of health is one of eight PDTs available through the Indiana CTSI. The overall goal of the PDT program is to “increase the translation of health sciences research and health care delivery to the people of Indiana and beyond by facilitating an environment that enables the conduct of clinical and translational research.” Through the program, eligible researchers request expert advice to develop their ideas and hypotheses into strong research projects and/or apply for a pilot award of up to $15,000. 

“Structural and social determinants of health, including conditions such as our built environment, natural environment, access to resources, socio-economic factors, lifestyle, and behaviors, play a critical role in shaping our health and well-being by providing a critical context about us as individuals and as a society,” said Chawla. “For this PDT, we want to imagine and inspire interdisciplinary and inter-institutional  research programs that promote equitable opportunities for good health and well-being among all people by contextualizing and understanding where and how people live, learn, play, work, and age.”

The committee for the structural and social determinants of health PDT consists of multidisciplinary researchers who act as a soundboard to investigators as well as provide access to resources and data while helping them focus their research programs. The committee features 15 experts from Indiana University, IUPUI, Notre Dame, Purdue University, and the Regenstrief Institute.

“For this PDT we are grateful to have an esteemed list of committee members with expertise in everything from data science to psychology and from sociology to medicine,” said Jessica Brookshire, PDT project manager and senior program director of the Office of Clinical Partnerships at Notre Dame. “This diversity will help create the best collaboration possible for supporting research in this area that addresses more than the symptoms of the problem, but the root of the issue.”

The structural and social determinants of health PDT supports basic, clinical, and translational research that enables a deeper understanding of how social, economic, and environmental contexts shape patterns of health and wellness, including the onset of diseases and disorders, within communities and informs effective treatments and interventions to promote equitable opportunities for good health and well-being.

To learn more or to apply for the PDT program, which accepts applications on a rolling basis, please visit

The Indiana CTSI is a statewide collaboration of Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame, as well as public and private partnerships. Established in 2008, the Indiana CTSI is supported by a $25 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutions of Health, supplemented by nearly $60 million from the state, the three member universities, and public and private partnerships. The Indiana CTSI is a member of a national network of CTSA-funded organizations across the U.S.


Brandi Wampler / Research Communications Specialist

Notre Dame Research / University of Notre Dame / +1.574.631.8183 / @UNDResearch

About Notre Dame Research:

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.

Originally published by Brandi Wampler at on April 05, 2021.