University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Research Presentations

The Chancellor’s Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Symposium

Friday, October 7, 2022
Levis Faculty Center

9:30 –10:00 a.m.
Systematic Racism & Social Justice

Partnerships in Equity, Access, and Representations in STEM (PEAR-STEM)

Levis Room 308

  • Lara Hebert, Assistant Director of Engineering Public Engagement
  • Tracy Dace, Founder and CEO, DREAAM
  • Kellye Smith, IMAGINE Parent Liaison, Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center
  • LaTina Taylor, Program Director, Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering program
  • Delores Lloyd, Teacher, Pleasant Acres Elementary School
  • TBD, IMAGINE STEM Saturday’s student

During the 2021–2022 school year, an interdisciplinary team from the university partnered with three community-based organizations and local families to narrow opportunity gaps and nurture the development of STEM identities for black and brown children who have historically been pushed out of science and technology pathways, both in and out of school. This panel presentation will spotlight the perspectives of program planners and participants as they discuss the initiative’s strengths and opportunities for growth in the future.

Launching Uni High’s Bridge and Equity Program to Affirm and Support Incoming Underrepresented Students of Color

Levis Room 108

  • Valerie O’Brien, Coordinator of Equity and Public Engagement, University Laboratory High School
  • Melissa Goodnight, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, and Core Affiliate Faculty, Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA)
  • Anthony Sullers, Jr., Lecturer, Department of African American Studies and Program Evaluator, Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA)

Uni Pathbreakers is a collaboration between University High School and the College of Education, which aims to ensure the success and sense of belonging of incoming Uni students from underrepresented backgrounds. The program seeks to cultivate strong peer-peer and student-teacher relationships through a week-long summer camp and year-round support activities.

Understanding Racial Disproportionality in Finding Permanent Homes for African American Children in Out-of-Home Care: A Study of Subsidized Guardianship

Levis Room 210

  • Theodore P. Cross, Senior Research Specialist, Children and Family Research Center
  • Cady Landa, Research Specialist, Children and Family Research Center
  • Heather Fox, Research Specialist, Office of Translational Research
  • Robin Lasota, Director of Translational Research
  • Magdalene Thebaud, MSW Candidate, School of Social Work
  • Diamond Hines, MSW Candidate, School of Social Work
  • Tachuana Parson, MSW Candidate, School of Social Work
  • Eun-Jee Song, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work
  • Sharva Hampton-Campbell, Student Affairs Coordinator, School of Social Work
  • Soonhyung Kwon, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work
  • Mary Steiner, MSW Candidate, School of Social Work

This study examines guardianship as a child welfare option that engages the strengths of extended families and could help counter racial disparities in finding permanent homes for children in foster care. Through interviews with stakeholders and surveys of caseworkers and foster caregivers, we explore opportunities and obstacles for using guardianship to find more permanent homes for Black children in foster care.

Combatting Anti-Asian Racism

Levis Room 208

  • Junaid Rana, Head and Associate Professor, Department of Asian American Studies

The presentation will highlight the year-long public speaker series and symposium titled “In Plain Sight: Reckoning with Anti-Asian Racism” by the Department of Asian American Studies.

10:15–10:45 a.m.
Disparities in Health & Healthcare

Context-Specific Lung Cancer Risk Profiles: The Effect of Exposure to Neighborhood Violence on Lung Cancer Risk

Levis Room 308

  • Sage J. Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Illinois Chicago, School of Public Health
  • Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, PhD, Associate Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Chronic exposure to neighborhood violence propagates immune response, which may contribute to the increased risk of developing lung cancer. To explore this relationship, we utilized multi-level approaches to estimate spatial clusters of lung cancer risk and gene expression of lung tissues. Neighborhood context is a significant contributor to lung cancer.

Funded by NIMHD (R01MD014839; U54MD012523-05S1)

The Effect of Neighborhood Disorganization on Engagement in Healthcare among Children with Chronic Conditions

Levis Room 108

  • Anne Elizabeth Glassgow, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago

Neighborhood context during childhood plays an important role in producing and reproducing current patterns of health disparity. We examined the effect of living in highly disorganized neighborhoods on healthcare engagement in a comprehensive care delivery program for children with chronic conditions. Neighborhood disorganization contributes to parents’ ability to engage in healthcare services for their children.

Funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54MD012523-S1)

Community Health Workers: From Overlooked and Under-researched Employees to Well-equipped Frontline Agents in the Fight to Reduce Health Disparities in Communities of Color

Levis Room 210

  • Andiara Schwingel, Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology & Community Health

Community Health Workers (CHWs) have shown to effectively serve as liaisons between health and social services and the community, despite their limited formal health training. CHWs share culture, language and life experiences that enable them to access hard-to-reach groups. Health disparities are evident among communities of color, with African Americans and Latinx bearing a disproportionate burden of disease, injury, disability, and death. This project offers an opportunity to better equip CHWs for their critical role. We established a multidisciplinary/sector coalition to develop, evaluate, and disseminate online learning strategies through certificate programs that will train CHWs to address their community health needs.

Implementation and Sustainability of the ASPIRE (Ambitions and Stories of young People Inspiring Resilience and Excellence) Program

Levis Room 208

  • Carla D. Hunter, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
  • Shardé Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Shandra Summerville, Community Collaborator, Community Mental Health Board
  • Gabrielle Calderon, Community Academic Scholar, Department of Psychology

Building on the premise that storytelling is a form of “narrative medicine,” the ASPIRE program was designed to facilitate storytelling experiences that highlight and affirm Black youth’s identities, strengths, potential and ultimately promote healing in afterschool spaces. Guided by our Community Healing and Resistance through Storytelling (C-HeARTS) framework, we explored health outcomes associated with youth supporting each other, building connectedness, sharing stories of achievement, overcoming obstacles, and challenging societal deficit notions.

11:00–11:30 a.m.
Systematic Racism & Social Justice

Dignifying Digital Connection: Addressing Race and Class Privilege in Broadband Infrastructures for East Central Illinois Families, Students and Seniors

Levis Room 308

  • Chieh-Li “Julian” Chin, Research Program Manager at the School of Information Sciences and Data Analyst at Technology Services
  • Anita Chan, Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences and the Department of Media and Cinema Studies, Director of the Community Data Clinic
  • Tracy Smith, Deputy CIO for Innovation & Technology Strategy, Technology Services
  • Jorge Rojas-Alvarez, PhD student & Graduate Research Assistant, Institute of Communications Research
  • Kainen Bell, PhD student & Graduate Research Assistant, School of Information Sciences

Our project aims to dignify civic connection and minimize digital inequity via an expanded civic collaboration funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Broadband Ready “Digital Equity” grant. We built a multi-sectoral partnership network to establish a baseline assessment and model for understanding the socio-technical inequities that persistently prevent diverse vulnerable populations from accessing stable broadband connectivity in East Central Illinois.

Building Community through Collaborative Public Art Projects

Levis Room 108

  • Dr. Jennifer Bergmark, Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Art & Design
  • Dr. Blair Ebony Smith, Assistant Professor, School of Art & Design
  • Keva Richardson, Artist/Art Educator, Garden Hills Elementary School

Embedded in the belief that the arts can highlight inequities and revitalize community school pride, the School of Art and Design and Garden Hills Elementary School collaborated to create a series of art projects that investigate the role of the arts in revitalizing communities through civic engagement, collective care, and advocacy. 

Holding Police Accountable for Systemic Racial Injustice: The Illinois SPOTLITE System

Levis Room 210

  • Scott Althaus, Director, Cline Center for Advanced Social Research
  • Jay Jennings, Research Scientist, Cline Center for Advanced Social Research

The Illinois SPOTLITE system is a public-facing data dashboard that accurately documents every police-involved shooting in the state of Illinois between 2014 and 2020, including demographic information for involved individuals that can be used to identify racial disparities in police shootings for every county in the state. Illinois SPOTLITE provides communities throughout the state the necessary data to push for evidenced-based reform and to address long standing racial inequities in policing.

Racial Equity and Justice in the State Courts During the Post-Pandemic Transition

Levis Room 208

  • Robin Fretwell Wilson, Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois System; Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law, College of Law
  • Brian J. Gaines, Professor, Department of Political Science, Senior Scholar, Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  • Jason Mazzone. Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law, College of Law, Collaborating Scholar, Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  • Matt Mettler, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science

During the Covid-19 pandemic, courts moved their proceedings online and they implemented other new measures to keep hearing cases. Understanding the experience with and impact of these Covid-related innovations shows how to improve access to justice and reduce racial disparities in court access and case outcomes in the future.