Legislature establishes research center of excellence to promote health, economic resiliency

Research & Innovation

Jayme Blaschke | July 8, 2021

nurses in protective equipment conducting covid-19 tests

Texas State University has received $5.1 million over the biennium from the 87th Texas Legislature to establish the Community Health and Economic Resiliency Research (CHERR) Center for Excellence.

Expanding the university’s ongoing program of applied health research, the new center of excellence will be led by Melinda Villagran, director of the Translational Health Research Center at Texas State.

villagran headshot
Melinda Villagran, director of the Translational Health Research Center

"We have realized more than ever the links between individual and economic health that affect our communities," Villagran said. "This center of excellence will ultimately bring together business and community leaders with healthcare organizations and researchers to anticipate and respond when public health and safety threats occur.

"A public emergency could be anything from a pandemic to a power outage to a hurricane or a tornado," she said. "Events like these require us to think ahead and work together to limit the negative impact on our jobs and lives."

Initially, Texas State faculty will conduct a series of town hall meetings to identify factors contributing to successful community-level responses in the wake of COVID-19. CHERR researchers will develop new evidence-based training programs and resources that help build community-level resilience.

"Texas needs to maintain an engaged and healthy workforce, and businesses need to operate without interruption whenever possible," Villagran said. "CHERR will be a hub for public health emergency planning using cutting edge technology, key economic indicators, and evidence-based decision-making practices."

Ultimately, CHERR will foster ongoing research and workforce development by identifying, analyzing, and sharing critical success factors for community health and safety resiliency in Texas.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922