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Center to Advance Racial Equity, Portland State University

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History 

Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens (Founding Director) was invited by the Coalition of Communities of Color (in Portland, OR) to partner with them to research racial disparities in the region and to consolidate the research into reports that could be used for the following purposes:

  • Policy makers to better understand the issues facing communities of color and the agencies that provide services for them

  • Advocates wanting firm footing in detailing the disparities between communities of color and White populations

  • Researchers considering how to improve assessments of services, data collection practices and expand beyond conventional measures to define experiences facing communities of color

  • Educators wanting to expand resources, and grant writers seeking to statistically document trends and challenges

 

The fact that these reports on racial disparities (seven of them) have been key to building the advocacy influence of communities of color led us all to consider how to better expand this model. In January 2013, we opened the Center to Advance Racial Equity at the School of Social Work, housed within the Regional Research Institute which holds an exemplary research administration reputation and a lengthy track record of partnering with community groups for research purposes.

 

Support and encouragement was provided by PSU's Chief Diversity Officer, Jilma Meneses, from the Northwest Health Foundation, and with our first grant from the Pacific Power Foundation. We operate each year to support between 5-10 research projects. The School of Gender, Race and Nation at PSU is becoming a formal partner in the project, and faculty in the department are taking significant roles in the research initiative.

 

The Coalition of Communities of Color has been instrumental supporting CARE's development and both sits on the Advisory Committee and generates research projects useful to its advocacy efforts to advance racial equity.

 

It is our hope that over time we will draw in support from multiple department and perhaps catalyze cross-university supports for this initiative. The greater the responsiveness of our academic bodies to the needs and priorities of communities of color, the greater the fruition of racial equity.

Founding

Director

Dr. Curry-Stevens founded CARE in the fall of 2012 and opened its doors iin early 2013. She brings to the region a history of community-based research that dates back to 1992 with her time as Director of Social Justice at the YWCA in Toronto, Canada, where in she worked with staff and service users to create a report on the actions women advised to men to promote women's safety and to reduce violence against women. She also led research initiatives of the Centre for Social Justice which studied the growing gap between rich and poor in Canada, and just before transitioning to full-time academic appointments, she worked on the Social Determinants of Health, combining original research, network development and communications to support the emergence of a Canadian movement to advance progress on upstream responses to health inequities. Since arriving in the USA, her work has been focused on racial equity, and she continues to work in partner with the Coalition of Communities of Color, whose support has been instrumental in opening CARE. The Coalition of Communities of Color continues a significant research partnership with Dr. Curry-Stevens, both through CARE and through research support provided by her to the Coalition.

 

For more information on her background and academic credentials, click HERE