The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is pleased to announce that Dr. Ipek N. Sener — a distinguished research scientist at TTI — has been presented a Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund.
The community-led research initiative led by the NIH — called ComPASS — is dedicated to addressing structural factors affecting health in communities, such as access to safe spaces, healthy food, jobs, transport and healthcare. This September, NIH’s ComPASS program granted 25 awards to community organizations and one award to a coordination center. Through these awards, ComPASS will enable researchers to delve into sustainable solutions that promote health equity and, ultimately, improve the lives of individuals and communities nationwide.
Feonix – Mobility Rising — the non-profit organization spearheading the ComPASS project — is collaborating with a dynamic team of transdisciplinary researchers from Michigan State University, Southern Methodist University, University of Michigan, TTI and more than 20 community groups in the Detroit and Dallas areas.
Dr. Sener will lead the research efforts at TTI for the NIH Common Fund study “Reducing Health Disparities through Enhanced Mobility Support & Access.” The study aims to address the critical issue of transportation barriers as a fundamental determinant of health disparities in the United States. The primary objective is to help determine whether removing transportation barriers through a Transportation Assistance Hub improves health outcomes and reduces health disparities. Focusing on marginalized communities in Dallas, Texas and Detroit, Michigan — particularly those marked by persistent poverty and Justice40-identified disadvantaged areas — this project aims to demonstrate that enhanced mobility support can positively impact the health and well-being of these vulnerable populations.
The research team will implement and rigorously evaluate multi-year pilot programs enhancing transportation access, and quantifying impacts on health outcomes. Key findings and best practices will be shared nationally to assist additional communities in improving mobility and public health outcomes.
Dr. Sener’s leadership at TTI ensures the successful execution of this vital research endeavor, with TTI serving as the single Institutional Review Board for the study. The NIH ComPASS award is a testament to Dr. Sener and the entire research team’s exceptional commitment to groundbreaking research, collaboration, innovation and the pursuit of scientific excellence.
“I’m beyond proud that we have been honored with the ComPASS award through NIH,” notes Sener. “This represents a one-of-a-kind opportunity bringing together an incredible team dedicated to addressing transportation barriers and improving health. With Feonix, our research team and community partners, and now this award, the outcomes from this research will be critical in improving lives. I want to thank everyone who contributed to bringing this project to fruition and for supporting me on this transformative journey.”
The project is funded by NIH Common Fund award number OT2OD035839.