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Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training

The Curtis Center has been relaunched with a new name, a new mission and a new staff.  Learn more about the center’s history, impact and new focus on health equity research and training. 

Curtis Center Focuses on Health Equity Research and Training

In November, the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training was relaunched and renamed. The center’s new focus is health equity for marginalized communities in Michigan and beyond. “We will take care of home, but also go global, with social justice as our primary aim,” says the center’s new director, Professor Daphne Watkins.

First established in 2008, the Curtis Center honors Vivian A. Curtis, MSW ’48 (1924–2007), and her husband, James L. Curtis, MD ’46. They met during Curtis’s residency and were married in December 1948. James Curtis began a career as a clinician, educator and healthcare administrator, and Vivian Curtis became a national leader in social work. 

“Our ambition,” Dr. Curtis says, “was to create research opportunities for people, regardless of race, gender or family income.” Watkins aligned the center’s new mission to fit within the School’s strategic plan by focusing on health equity research and training.

“The center's mission is to stimulate research, training and outreach opportunities that promote health equity. We support work that deepens our understanding of factors that lead to inequities and strategies that eliminate them,” explains Watkins. 

Programs include: 

  • African American Chronic Care Equity through Self-management Program
  • Developing Collaborative Research to Address Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women in Michigan
  • A Psycho-Oncology Fellowship to Support Pre-Doctoral Health Disparity Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Sex and Gender Needs during Cancer
  • The Young Black Men, Masculinities and Mental Health (YBMen) Project

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