Welcome to the Health Disparities Research Lab!

Our lab conducts research on the intersections of interpersonal health communication, chronic kidney disease, and organ donation and transplantation. Through multiple federally-funded research studies we aim to evaluate hospital development and behavioral communication interventions to increase solid organ donation and examine the ethical, legal and social issues of organ and tissue donation for transplantation and medical research/biobanking purposes. Across these areas of research, a primary goal of ours is to improve organ and tissue donation processes in the US and alleviate disparities in access to transplantation.

Our lab also focuses on identifying disparities relating to nutrition-based practices and outcomes. More recently, the lab has partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger to evaluate an ongoing effort to bring healthy food options to local food pantries and has begun a line of research investigating the relationship between food insecurity and medical nutritional management of Type II diabetes, a leading cause of chronic kidney disease.

Heather M. Gardiner, PhD, MPH

Dr. Gardiner has over a decade of experience in the world of organ donation and increasing communication and knowledge on the issue. She is associate professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Temple University.  She is the recipient of a Career Development Award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop and test an educational and communication skills intervention for patients with end stage renal disease who are awaiting kidney transplantation.

If you’d like to learn more about our research team, past & current research projects, and presentations and publications, click the corresponding links above. Use the “Job Opportunities” link to apply for Summer 2019 Independent Studies and Internships.


Contact Us

1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Ritter Annex,  Room 956
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-1667