Center for Health Communications Research (CHCR) at NCRC Ed Saunders

Center for Health Communications Research (CHCR) at NCRC Ed Saunders, MS, deputy director of CHCR shares some thoughts

The University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research (CHCR) is a dedicated team, integrating behavioral science, technology, and art to create and research health interventions that inspire informed health decisions, broaden access to health information, and advance the field of health communications. As part of the newly formed Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), CHCR was one of the early groups of move to NCRC. In a recent conversation, Ed Saunders, MS, Deputy Director of CHCR shared his thoughts on being at NCRC.

On what CHCR does
Our multidisciplinary center is entirely grant funded and works with investigators from across the university, the country and occasionally internationally to provide expertise on health communications and the development of individually tailored interventions using advanced media and communications technologies. We are relatively agnostic about the particular health topic, population, research setting or technologies of interest. We have developed 150 interventions over our center’s history and have cultivated a highly skilled team of behavior scientists, creative designers, technologists, and project managers. We exist to collaborate with investigators on health communications, interventions and research.

On working with other groups at IHPI
We are excited about being at NCRC because a number of research groups we work with are already located here. It has allowed us to strengthen the connections with existing collaborators, as well as develop new ones. IHPI is a new entity, but already new synergizes are developing. We are one of the early occupants but we have worked with many of the members of IHPI for several years. For example, we have been working with Steven Katz, Sarah Hawley, Susan Goold, Michele Heisler, as well as Fred Blow and Rod Hayward, so it is a natural fit. In fact, we may be the group that is most connected to all the other groups! I see the connections only growing now, with many more groups coming in.

On how the NCRC space is structured
The physical environment at NCRC is much better structured for the way we work, which is highly collaborative. Our offices have been configured in a way that maximizes interaction among our staff members. That, combined with the sheer amount of open collaborative spaces that are available here, is very conducive to how we work. By moving to NCRC from the North Ingalls building we are now away from some of our other collaborators but the ease of parking here mitigates that to a large extent. Collaborators from central campus – Public Health, Nursing, School of Information and the Medical School find it easy and enjoyable to come out here to work with us.