Brown School initiative to explore inequality and racism in America

The Brown School’s Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis has launched a new initiative aimed at examining how racism and inequality affect quality of life in the United States.

The Collaboration on Race, Inequality, and Social Mobility in America (CRISMA) will examine the impact of inequality and structural racism on people of color in our country. It will be co-directed by three members of the Brown School faculty: Sheretta Butler-Barnes, assistant professor; David Patterson, associate professor; and Darrell Hudson, assistant professor.

“The collaboration is an effort to bring together scholars to discuss how to address structural racism and develop strategic ways to address inequalities in education and health,” Butler-Barnes said.

“Thus, we are very intentional in our language around who is impacted by structural and individual racism, including African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Asian and immigrant populations,” she said. “Our hope is that we will bring together scholars from around Washington University and other interested scholars around the country.”

“Our aim is to investigate multilevel approaches to addressing social, economic, and health inequities in the United States,” Hudson added.

Gathering scholars from multiple disciplines, including psychology, public health and social work, CRISMA will focus on building resilience; exploring costs of upward social mobility; exploring the costs of mental health; and the psychosocial and environmental factors related to health and well-being across the course of a life.

“My hope is for CRISMA to build scientific knowledge and develop scholars who are dedicated to the reduction and elimination of racial/ethnic disparities in America,” Patterson said. “We have to educate and train the next generation of social workers and public health workers who can work throughout our communities to eliminate the devastating health consequences caused by inequalities.”

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