Health-Related Interdisciplinary Research Groups

Interdisciplinary Research Groups provide enhanced information sharing, collaboration, and research and grant development opportunities for faculty involved in related research in areas of health and wellness.

Aging and Adult Health

The Aging and Adult Health Interdisciplinary Research Group comprises faculty from multiple disciplines interested in all aspects of healthy aging and age-related diseases. Areas of faculty expertise include basic physiology and muscle development across the lifespan, the impact of nutrition and exercise on muscles and health, mild cognitive impairment and dementia, social aspects of aging, and more. Collaborations include the IHHS Interprofessional Clinic and community partners such as the Area Agency on Aging and the High Country Caregivers Foundation.


For information on Healthy Aging Assessments and other clinical research collaborations, visit:

Public Health Think Tank

What is Public Health? Combining the definition with the WHO, APHA, and CDC, public health refers to all organized measures (public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole where they live, learn, work, and play. 
What is a Think Tank? A body of people providing advice and ideas on specific problems. This particular think tank aims to provide public health support to all entities so they can be responsive to the needs of their communities. This group defines a think tank as “multi-disciplinary, collaborative, idea generating, and open to all interested.

Drivers of the Think Tank include:
• Social Determinants
• Scientific Data
• Resiliency Building
• Quality Improvement
• Systems Thinking
• Inclusive Messaging


Creative/Healing Arts

The healing expressive arts are creative practices that promote health, wellness, and transformation for individuals, groups, and communities. Healing arts often layer multiple modalities, including contemplative practices/meditation, sound/music, visual art, dance/movement, poetry/writing, ecotherapy, working with clay, and drama. These approaches combine artistic expression with psychological awareness and communication, and are led by therapists and expressive artists experienced in both areas. The Creative/Healing Arts Interdisciplinary Research Group shares research and works to develop research collaborations to examine ways to support transformation, inner healing, and social and environmental justice for individuals, groups, and communities through various forms of artistic expression and exploration of the whole person--mind, body and spirit.


Faculty Research Calendar

Stress and Resilience Related to Maternal/Child Health

The maternal/child IRG is a new, collaborative effort to bring together researchers and clinicians who aim to improve outcomes for mothers, infants, and children. An interdisciplinary lens is needed to better understand the intersectional factors that impact these vulnerable populations. Our goal is to provide a space for researchers and clinicians to work synergistically across disciplines to bridge the work aimed at improving outcomes in maternal/child health.


Amber Welborn, Nursing

The HOPE Lab

The HOPE Lab ((Healthy Outdoor Play & Exercise)) was established to bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and fields to promote health through spending time in the outdoors engaged in physical activity, exercise, and play.


Environmental Health (Collaborative with RIEEE)

Environmental health is the branch of public health that: focuses on the relationships between people and their environment; promotes human health and well-being; and fosters healthy and safe communities. Environmental health is a key part of any comprehensive public health system. The field works to advance policies and programs to reduce deleterious physical and biological exposures in air, water, soil and food to protect people and provide communities with healthier environments.The Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Research Group is a collaborative group cross listed as an IHHS IRG and an RIEEE Research Cluster.


Interdisciplinary Research Group Guidelines


To provide enhanced information sharing, collaboration, and research and grant development opportunities for faculty involved in related research in areas of health and wellness.


IRGs should be truly interdisciplinary to be effective. Meetings should be open to anyone to attend, but faculty should be actively pursuing or conducting research in the target area to participate. While the group should function as a collaborative unit without specific direction from any one person or persons, for the purposes of scheduling meetings and providing information to others, at least two contact persons should be identified. These individuals should be from different disciplines and should be willing to post their contact information and communicate with the group and others when needed and assist with meeting planning.


IRGs can meet as often as they would like but should meet minimally once per semester, fall and spring. Smaller meetings will arise when different opportunities (i.e., research projects and grant applications) develop. These are, as well, at the discretion of the participants. It is ideal for different people to become involved with different projects, and these projects are encouraged to share what they are doing at the full IRG meetings.


The IRG serves to share information and build collaborations, but not everyone in an IRG will or should be involved in every project that stems from or is presented to the IRG. Existing collaborations will be shared with the IRG, and this is of benefit to all. Different groups are expected to emerge at different times to submit a grant or develop a pilot study. Individuals who wish to be involved with a project should reasonably be able to; but faculty are expected to exercise discretion regarding their time commitments, potential value to the specific collaboration, and role in the overall success of the project. No one can be involved in everything, and no one should feel excluded based on research that arises from or is presented to IRGs.

Interested in starting a new IRG? Contact Gary McCullough at

Role of the IHHS

  1. The primary role of the IHHS is to facilitate IRGs. We will promote IRGs on our website and the websites of the RIEEE and the Office of Research through a shared calendar across institutes to facilitate additional collaborations and opportunities.
  2. Provide ongoing funding searches in the area specific to the IRG and disseminate to the group on an ongoing basis.
  3. Schedule IRG meetings (if requested by the IRG) and attend meetings to learn and enhance grant searches and development.
  4. Provide internal funding opportunities for IRGs to support pilot studies and grant applications.
  5. Assist with recruitment of participants through IP Clinic and community partners.
  6. Provide additional support as needed and requested with grant development and project support.

*Note: All external submissions by IRGs routed through the IHHS will be eligible for 10% return of indirect costs to the investigators (as opposed to 5% standard) and additional support, as needed and available, for successful completion of the project. THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR IRG-RELATED GRANTS TO ROUTE THROUGH THE IHHS UNLESS THEY HAVE BEEN SUPPORTED BY IHHS DEVELOPMENT FUNDS.