Community Health and Social Epidemiology (CHASE) Program

chase program

Dr. Tyra Dark created the Community Health and Social Epidemiology (CHASE) program, housed within the Center for Translational Behavioral Science, to investigate the impact of social conditions on community health. Social epidemiology assumes that the distribution of advantages and disadvantages in a society reflects the distribution of health and disease. As a social epidemiologist, Dr. Dark’s research has focused on the unique health care needs and health economics of populations with complex chronic conditions (e.g., cardiometabolic syndrome in older adults and HIV/AIDS in young adults) and comorbid mental illness, and the role of race/ethnicity on delivery of care. 

The CHASE program focuses on identifying how care is delivered to this population to uncover potential contributors of racial/ethnic disparities that can inform future policy or other cost-effective health care delivery interventions to improve outcomes and reduce observed disparities.

For more information about the CHASE Program, please contact Dr. Tyra Dark at 


Positive Deviance Model:

The “Positive Deviance” approach seeks to identify factors that enable some members of the community (the “positive deviants”) to find better solutions to pervasive problems than their neighbors who have access to the same resources?  With the goal of creating healthier, more equitable communities, CHASE embraces the positive deviance approach to identify and characterize groups that have more successful disease management, better health outcomes and related health care expenditures despite having higher risk profiles.

Health Services Research Focus:

Cost-effective behavioral treatments exist for pervasive risk factors; however, many of these treatments are not readily accessible to populations in most need. Intensive behavioral treatments and an evaluation of the cost effectiveness of these treatments are needed to prevent adverse health outcomes and progression to more expensive treatments or hospitalization.

Resource Distribution:

To facilitate the impact of this work directly into the community, future CHASE endeavors will facilitate community based conversations which will inform interventions aimed at promoting successful disease management and healthcare delivery to vulnerable populations with co-morbid chronic conditions thus lowering overall healthcare expenditures.  The CHASE program seeks to identify community health concerns.