Professor Trina Shanks is the director of the newly launched Center for Equitable Family & Community Well-Being, which is designed to connect the resources and the intellectual strength of U-M with the passion and social capital of community leaders. The center’s work will focus explicitly on improving the well-being of families and communities, and reducing existing inequities.
"When I first conceptualized the Center for Equitable Community & Family Well-Being in the fall of 2019, I was concerned about growing inequality and the economic insecurity faced by many Black and low-income households both in the United States and locally in Southeastern Michigan,” says Shanks. “During this current moment of crisis and uncertainty in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial protest and economic freefall, the urgency to address equity concerns becomes even more pressing. Although the center is just getting started, we have a few signature projects already underway that hint at how we intend on pursuing our vision to expose oppressive systems and empower families and communities to thrive. Please review our current work and feel free to reach out to anyone on our team with your ideas of how to collaborate on research or interventions that bring greater equity to vulnerable communities and families."
The School of Social Work announces the Level Up: Employment Skills Simulation Lab, which develops solutions designed to bridge the equity gap in employment opportunities for underserved groups. Associate Professor Matt Smith is the principal investigator. Assistant Professor Jamie Mitchell and JD Smith from Northwestern University are co-investigators.
Learn more about the lab’s mission, research and impact.
Assistant Professor Anao Zhang talks with the CDC about hopefulness, mental health and wellness counseling for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors.
In light of COVID-19, and ongoing protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Professor and Associate Dean of Research Rogério M. Pinto spoke to MLive about both the timing and the power of this moment of unrest. “Protests can be a powerful strategy to enact change, and already the movement has scored some results. That includes having criminal charges filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death and upgrading of charges from third- to second-degree homicide for the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. “The simple fact they’ve been charged already is a phenomenal result.”
Associate Professor Shawna Lee’s research is cited in a New York Times article that discusses how the tremendous changes wrought by the pandemic can mimic, mask or amplify depression-like feelings. According to the research she conducted in April, a third of respondents reported symptoms of depression including fatigue, insomnia and feelings of hopelessness.
The recent APA Journals Article Spotlight included Assistant Professor Lisa Fedina’s article exploring how economic factors related to housing, food and health care affect survivors of sexual assault.
Assistant Professor Katrina Ellis is part of a team of U-M researchers evaluating the programs at the Silver Center, which offers enrichment and educational classes via phone to help adults 60 years old or older stay connected. While the program predates the pandemic, it has become especially timely for older adults who may have little or no access to technology and are isolated at home. The U-M team will evaluate how these activities may have helped participants cope with the isolation and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will learn what went well, what can be improved and how we could expand the program,” Ellis said. “This can bring attention to new ways of delivering services to older adults. We also hope that it increases awareness of community resources and opportunities for learning new things.”
Professor Luke Shaefer has been named a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. The two-year award provides $200,000 in support of his project, “Deepening Our Understanding of America's Most Vulnerable Communities.” Shaefer is also the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the director of U-M’s Poverty Solutions.
The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program was established in 2015 and provides philanthropic support for high-caliber scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences that addresses important and enduring issues confronting our society. Shaefer is one of 27 fellows named to the 2020 class. The criteria prioritize the originality and potential impact of a proposal, as well as a scholar’s capacity to communicate the findings with a broad audience.
“I am deeply honored to be named one of the Carnegie Fellows,” says Shaefer. “The fellowship will help me and my collaborators immensely in our work to more deeply understand disadvantage in this country and help direct resources and action to where they’re needed most.”
Associate Professor David Córdova was selected to serve on the editorial board of Emerging Adulthood, an interdisciplinary and international journal focusing on advancements in theory, methodology and empirical research in transition-age youth.
Associate Professor Shawna Lee, author of a recent study on the stress of parenting amid this crisis talks with Tonya Mosley from Here & Now a National Public Radio live midday news program.
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