November 2022

Meet Lisa Staten

Lisa Staten, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at the Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.  She is also an Associate Director of the Community Health Partnership (CHeP) of the Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute. 

Prior to coming to Indiana, Dr. Staten served as a faculty member at the University of Arizona where she worked with community partners along the US-Mexico border to reduce risk factors for diabetes in Latino communities. The overarching theme of Dr. Staten’s research is improving health equity through community engagement.  A great deal of her work has focused on chronic disease prevention using community-based participatory research methods. More recently, she is shifting her focus to developing interventions that address the social determinants of health. She has published in the areas of minority health, intervention design and evaluation, community engaged research, and coalition building.  

In her free time, Dr. Staten loves to garden, hike, visit with her children, and spend time in the beautiful mountains of Colorado.


My goal is to improve health equity by working in partnership with communities to develop effective and sustainable local solutions for improving quality of life.

Dr. Staten
Dr. Staten introducing steering committee members at a DIP-IN community meeting.

Q and A with Dr. Staten

Upon completing my doctoral degree in Biological Anthropology at the University of Colorado, I received a post-doctoral fellowship connected to the future college of public health at the University of Arizona.  During my fellowship, a school nurse from one of the border communities approached some of my colleagues to raise concerns about escalating rates of diabetes in their high school students.  With virtually no funds, a multiyear project began to understand what was going on in order to develop and implement interventions to address the problem. The project included community residents, and local and national experts seated equally at the table. It was an inspiration.

I learned two main lessons (and many others) from the experience.  First, the issues we are dealing with in public health impact people’s lives every day and I learned that my focus needed to be on improving peoples’ quality of life and reducing health disparities. Second, it is critical to have community members as strong partners if the goal is to truly improve community level health outcomes.    

While most of my work has focused on diabetes prevention and control in vulnerable and underserved populations, the ultimate goal is really to reduce health disparities. To use a common quote, "where people live, shouldn’t determine how long they live."

Our immediate focus is on working with communities within Indianapolis, but the long-term goal is to create a model that can be implemented in other parts of the US or even internationally.

There are a lot of things about this work that I really enjoy. Probably my favorite part about this work is seeing the amazing things that communities accomplish with just a little support.

Students of all levels are involved. We have a PHD student doing her dissertation work with the project, students working on projects as part of their MPH capstone work, and we have student interns. In addition, we have students work with many of our project partners as part of their applied coursework.

Community members/residents are integral to this work. We have multiple resident steering committees who are the decision makers related to projects and funds being distributed in three DIP-IN communities.

We are working on disseminating our findings to date through publications and presentations.  In addition, we are at the midpoint of this project and have now started to shift some of the focus more explicitly toward sustainability. This has always been an emphasis, but it is even more so as we enter the second half of the project.


Conversation with Dr. Staten

On Friday, November 11, 2022 from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., Dr. Lisa Staten will discuss the "Diabetes Impact Project – Indianapolis Neighborhoods (DIP-IN)". This a multi-year, multisector, community engaged project with a holistic approach to reducing the diabetes burden in three Indianapolis communities. During this conversation, Dr. Staten will provide an overview of the project and then focus on the diverse partnerships that are central to the project. Join us for an opportunity to talk with Dr. Staten about her research.