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Outstanding Professor Champions Collaboration

Sora Park Tanjasiri Addresses Health Equity in Public Lecture

Nov. 20, 2013

Sora Park Tanjasiri

Sora Park Tanjasiri

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Health scientist Sora Park Tanjasiri emphasized the importance of collaboration during her Outstanding Professor lecture today before an audience of about 200 of her peers, students and community members.

“Collaboration is essential to our work as scholars, and we need communities partnering in research to understand and address enduring health disparities and achieving health equity,” the professor of health science said, adding that “community-based participatory research offers an invaluable framework for creating long-term collaborations that lead to impactful innovations.”
Tanjasiri, this year’s recipient of Cal State Fullerton’s Outstanding Professor Award, the university’s highest faculty honor, explained community-based participatory research as an effort to “improve the responsiveness of research institutions to address root causes of enduring health disparity problems.”

As principal or co-principal investigator on 25 grant-funded research projects in the past decade, Tanjasiri shared lessons learned from successes in community-based cancer prevention, early detection and survivorship studies, and concluded with her message about the rewards that come from working with partners.

Since joining the faculty in 2003, Tanjasiri, director of the university’s Health Promotion Research Institute, has focused on the community health needs of diverse populations, particularly Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and garnered more than $15 million in grants to fund research focused on reducing cancer health disparities in underrepresented communities. 
CSUF President Mildred García characterized Tanjasiri as a “superstar scholar and faculty member.”
García added: “She is the epitome of what we call high-impact practices. This woman is our role model. I want to thank her on behalf of everyone in the room for the fabulous, impactful, really important work that she is doing within our communities."

Tanjasiri’s colleagues, she said, “recognize her for outstanding achievement and dedication to her students and research. Her students consistently rate her as one of the best teachers in their college experience, and her supervisors greatly value her commitment to student access, but most importantly, student success.”
For Tanjasiri, striving for health equity is “very near and dear to my heart,” and she trains her students to conduct collaborative research in the community.

She concluded her remarks by noting that “collaboration is essential in focusing efforts on not just differences and disparities, but on actually achieving health equity, where everyone has the opportunity to live long healthy lives.”

View Tanjasiri’s lecture online.

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