A new research team focusing on community health in underserved populations recently transitioned to WSU Spokane. The team’s work will help sustain health, especially in underserved communities.

The Initiative for Research and Education to Advance Community Health – or IREACH – is the umbrella body for three pieces of research:

Partnerships for Native Health
This research focuses on native populations and studies the difference of care among different groups. The research team has studied HPV and stroke rates among native populations, among other topics.

“We have about thirty active research sites today,” said Dedra Buchwald, M.D., who heads the IREACH team.

Behavioral Health Institute
This research looks at different ways of delivering and developing interventions for addictions and serious mental illnesses.

Michael McDonell, Ph.D., has already worked with researchers at WSU in Pullman. That research team is looking at developing a marijuana breathalyzer.

Twin Research and the Built Environment
Glen Duncan, Ph.D., leads this research and has a twin database (the Washington State Twin Registry) to study genes, behaviors and more. Duncan also studies built environments (how our surroundings are made up and how we use them).

Duncan has measured what people do and where they do it, to put it in simple terms. Did they walk? Drive? Ride a bike? To find these answers, Duncan has used gadgets that people keep on them. For one example, these gadgets measure where people go so we can study how walkable their environments are, and how that impacts their behavior.

The IREACH team will also work with WSU Spokane’s Program of Excellence in Addictions Research (PEAR), a multidisciplinary group of researchers that look at drug and alcohol addiction.

The work of IREACH aligns with WSU’s goal of leading research to sustain health, and IREACH works with many other disciplines to solve problems.