Center for Health Ecology Research

The Center for Health Ecology Research (CHER) in the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University was founded in March, 2013 to serve as a forum within the College to promote discussion of the personal, social, institutional, societal, and cultural beliefs and policies that may enhance or undermine the attainment and maintenance of individual and population health. In conjunction with these discussions, the CHER is intended to be the locus of transdisciplinary ressearch on health-related challenges and policies in support of attaining and maintaining optimal health at the individual and population levels. Research teams within the CHER faculty leverage the existing expertise within the College of Human Sciences and within Colleges across Auburn University to plan and implement basic and translational research projects addressing urgent health challenges at local, regional, national, and global levels. Because Alabama offers a microcosm of the health challenges facing the nation and constitutes a natural laboratory for systems-informed health research due to our large rural population, many of whom are impoverished, African-American, with high rates of non-communicable diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices, including obesity and diabetes, the CHER is positioned to play a central role in health and health care policy in the coming decades.

The health ecology perspective informs both the discourse and the research mounted within the CHER. This perspective assumes that health attainment and maintenance are embedded in a system of practices and beliefs characteristic of the individuals and the populations they collectively constitute, and that a deep understanding of these practices and beliefs is required if advances in the basic research findings relevant to health and its absence are to be incorporated into that system. As a consequence, research teams within the CHER always include scientists with expertise in biological and/or psychobiological mechanisms and processes, as well as scientists with expertise in human behavior, motivation, social transactions, and design (both data analytic design and the design of built/constructed environments and artifacts). These teams include both faculty within the College of Human Sciences, faculty from other Colleges within Auburn University, as well as scientific collaborators from other institutions in the U.S. and around the world.

For more information contact:

Dr. Brian Vaughn, CHER Director,; (334) 844-3235