Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI)

HELI_Logo_3In partnership with the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park, ICTR’s Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE) hosts the Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI) is an intensive weeklong “research boot camp” focused on increasing the number of investigators, particularly minority investigators, engaged in health disparities/health equity research that are successful in tenure track academic appointments in schools of public health, medicine and other health and behavioral health science disciplines, assisting them in achieving research funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Minority (i.e., African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native Americans) investigators are underrepresented in the healthcare and public health workforce. These investigators often face unique obstacles to their success including feelings of loneliness and isolation, difficulty securing research funding and research mentoring, and limited research collaboration opportunities. Thus, the mission of HELI is to support and advance the career development of underrepresented minority investigators committed to the elimination of health disparities.

Overarching Institute Goals

  • Highlight the prevalent health disparities and health inequities that challenge communities in Wisconsin and elsewhere;
  • Underscore how health disparity and health equity-focused translational research teams at UW Madison, and at collaborating partner institutions, are addressing disparities;
  • Engage NIH staff to provide guidance on developing health disparities and health equity translational research projects that are based on new research ideas;
  • Create a safe environment where scholars can freely discuss feelings of isolation and discrimination, making HELI “transformative;” and
  • Support a nationwide community of scholars who are working to eliminate health disparities to achieve health equity via community engaged research partnerships.

Scholar Learning Objectives

  • Connect with junior and senior health disparity and health equity researchers, with special emphasis on the successful conduct of translational research;
  • Identify social, economic and cultural determinants of health and health policies that widen and minimize health disparity gaps in Wisconsin and elsewhere;
  • Understand evidence-based research approaches that are applicable for use in Wisconsin and beyond;
  • Receive career and research guidance to develop research programs focused on health disparities and health equity; and
  • Appreciate UW-Madison as a campus committed to creating a research climate conducive to interdisciplinary research on health disparities and health equity.

HELI is offered annually in June, with applications typically released in late January. For most up-to-date information on the next iteration of HELI, please visit

We are using the pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to consider next steps after 10 years of the HELI program. Stay tuned for more.