Published June 1, 2020
Timothy F. Murphy, MD, director of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute, was invited to testify at a New York State Legislature hearing regarding COVID-19 and health disparities.
Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, testified May 18 at the Legislature’s Joint Virtual Public Hearing Exploring Solutions to the Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Communities.
The hearing was held by the New York State Senate and Assembly to solicit recommendations on how to mitigate systematic inequalities that have been magnified by COVID-19 through enhanced federal funding and appropriate policy initiatives.
The goal was to provide the Legislature with the information it needs as it works to help minority communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murphy described UB’s Community Health Equity Research Institute — which involves faculty experts from all 12 schools at UB — who are working on a broad range of issues related to the social determinants of health.
“The mission of the institute is to perform research to advance understanding of the root causes of health disparities and develop and test innovative solutions to eliminate health inequities in our region,” Murphy said.
He stressed the Community Health Equity Research Institute’s community orientation, noting that it grew out of a strong partnership with Buffalo’s African American Health Equity Task Force.
Murphy credited Pastor George Nicholas, co-convener of the African American Health Equity Task Force and Buffalo Center for Health Equity, and his fellow activists, as a critical force in addressing health disparities in Buffalo.
Both Murphy and Nicholas, who also testified at the state hearing, discussed how important this strong partnership is in addressing health disparities in Buffalo.
“This partnership is well positioned to tackle the problem using a community-based participatory research approach, based on a bidirectional partnership between the community and the university,” Murphy said.
“The solutions to these systemic problems won’t occur overnight,” he stated. “It will take creative approaches from people with diverse expertise, a broad range of capabilities and big ideas. We need different approaches. We can’t keep doing the same things, because they don’t work. We need generational changes.”
Murphy is also director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translation Science of the National Institutes of Health. He is a faculty member in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases.