Diversity in Research

Diversity in Research

USC is located at the center of one of the most diverse cities in the world, making diversity and inclusion a unique strength of our research programs. Our priority — as explained in the Strategic Plan for Diversity in Research — is to conduct research that benefits all segments of society, by a broadly diverse and inclusive research community.

To add or update a program below, please fill out this form.

Diversity in Society

USC conducts research that serves the needs of diverse populations and helps improve our understanding of diverse individuals and diverse societies. By studying diversity, we recognize that quality research depends on sensitivity to diversity as a topic, which needs to be understood in the context of study design and interpretation of research results, as well as diversity as the specific focus of research investigations.

Examples include our study of equitable treatment or access to opportunities of diverse populations, the role and effects of discrimination and bias in society, comparative health and educational outcomes, and evaluation of strategies for providing a more just society.

Zumberge Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in Research Award supports research and scholarship that addresses critical gaps in knowledge on equity, diversity, and inclusion, or which benefits diverse communities, providing up to $30,000 for one-year research projects. Eligible topics include research that collaborates with minority-serving organizations; that is informed by and serves the needs of diverse communities; or that targets training or career grants to enhance the number of URM scholars. Learn more.

USC Race and Equity Center facilitates collaborations on grant proposals, publications and research, as well as supports the production of digital media, colloquia performances, and signature events in the area of diversity and equity. It will also support academic development of PhD students, providing a space to connect academically and socially with other doctoral fellows, faculty affiliates, and center researchers pursuing interesting race-related research questions. Visit their website.

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative develops research-based solutions to tackle inequality through: a) Research: using data-driven and theory-based research to offer insight and evidence to industries on where diversity is needed and how to achieve it; b) Advocacy: fostering inclusion and to give a voice to disenfranchised or marginalized groups and c) Action: offering simple actions for complex solutions to facilitate social change at the student, industry, and societal levels. Visit their website.

Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA) supports scholars leading research, courses, and programs that allow students to examine the vast complexities of diversity, identity, and culture across both the School of Communication and the School of Journalism. Visit their website.

Minority Aging and Health Economics Research Center in USC’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics works to increase the number, diversity, and academic success of researchers focusing on the health and economic well-being of minority elderly populations. Research examines the differences across racial and ethnic groups of elderly in: a) health care decision making, b) health behaviors and outcomes; and c) financial behavior including savings and work, and economic well-being. Visit their website.

USC Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) is a collaboration between USC Keck School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles that investigates childhood obesity, related conditions, and their relationship to minority health, and develops novel strategies for prevention and treatment. Research to elucidate mechanisms that contribute to ethnic differences in African American and Hispanic adipose tissue morphology and adipose tissue gene expression is one of many ongoing studies. Visit their website.

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is dedicated to eliminating racial injustice and promoting an ongoing process of healing and reconciliation to dismantle racism. Social work and nursing have a long-standing tradition of research that serves to uphold and improve diversity, equity and inclusion. Visit their website.

The Center for LGBT Health Equity leads scientific inquiry into the physical, emotional and social health of LGBT youth, adults and families, and guides best practices for achieving health equity for this population. Research areas include: preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth, measuring stress among diverse adolescents; improving acceptance, integration and health among LGBT service members; the impact of early medical treatment in transgender youth; and outcomes for lesbian and bisexual women in co-occurring treatment. Visit their website.

Rossier School of Education Center for Urban Education leads socially conscious research and develops tools for institutions of higher education to produce equity in student outcomes. Research includes the Research & Planning Group’s Bridging Research Information and Culture (BRIC) Initiative, a partnership with the Research Planning Group that uses institutional data, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, to create performance benchmarks as part of a strategic planning process to improve equitable student outcomes, among many other collaborative projects nationwide. Visit their website.

The Keck School of Medicine Center for Health Equity in the Americas conducts and promotes national and international research and collaborations on solutions to health disparities throughout the Americas that will contribute to closing gaps in vulnerable populations in achieving health equity. Efforts include “Promoting Health Equity in Cancer Prevention Health Equity Research Summit,” which focused on the development of a strategic plan for the direction of health equities in the Americas. Visit their website.

Dornsife’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) conducts research and facilitates discussions on environmental justice (determining localized impact and broader patterns of environmental inequality), regional inclusion (the relationship between regional economic strength and equity), and social movement building (providing guideposts for successful social movements and analysis to address immediate issues, and policies). Visit their website.

The USC Price Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) researches: economic well-beingeducational issues faced by Latinosinformation technology and political and civic engagement. TRPI maintains an online platform to publish on a variety of topic areas such as immigrant services and Latinos and the criminal justice system. Current research examines disparities in access and use of technology among the foreign-born population as well as whether racial and ethnic minorities receive the same treatment as whites in the criminal justice system, among others. Visit their website.

The Dornsife College Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) identifies and evaluates the benefits of immigrant integration for the native-born and for immigrants, and studies the pace of transformation in different locations. Emphases include: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research; data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time; and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public. Visit their website.

USC Law & Global Health Collaboration supported by the USC Collaboration Fund, the collaborative tackles existing and emerging legal and global health concerns on a variety of topics using a cross-disciplinary approach. A year-long series has focused on transgender issues, including symposia such as: Transgender Youth Care in the New MillenniumIn Transition: Gender [Identity], Law & Global Health Research SymposiumGenerating Research to Support Transgender PopulationsLegal and Other Barriers to Protection for Transgender Asylum-Seekers in the US, among others. Visit their website.

The Keck School of Medicine Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research studies health disparities among minorities locally, regionally, and nationally by: (a) increasing understanding of the epidemiology, determinants, and consequences of disease; (b) conducting field trials to develop and test evidence-based prevention programs; and (c) disseminating model health promotion and disease prevention programs in national and global settings. Visit their website.

CREATE – Homeland Security Center supports the Department of Homeland Security minority research program by hosting research teams from minority serving institutions. The center currently works with minority serving institutions locally (Cal State University Long Beach, Cal State University, Los Angeles), and nationally (Haskell Indian Nations University, Howard University, University of Hawaii, Hilo, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez and Alcorn State University). Visit their website.

Rossier School of Education Pullias Center for Higher Education: The Promoting At-Promise Student Success Project (PASS) Project is a multi-year mixed-methods research project dedicated to deepening understandings of student success in postsecondary institutions, including those who are predominantly first-generation, low-income. Visit their website.

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) aims to improve social welfare by informing and influencing decision-making in the public and private sectors. Research includes the Minority Aging Health Economics Research Center – Understanding Racial/Ethnic Inequalities in Wealth Trajectories in Middle and Late Life: Patterns and Explanations. Visit their website.

USC School of Architecture faculty study inequity and historical privilege with respect to the built-environment, including the spaces of women throughout history, the un-even distribution of cultural institutions in Los Angeles; the urbanism of the Black Panther Movement; the relationship between post-apocalyptic films and the representation of environmental injustice in minority communities; spatially distributed relics of power in South Los Angeles, low-income housing locally and globally, and the study of innovative housing models for our aging population. Visit their website.

USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society is a joint venture between the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the Viterbi School of Engineering that conducts research in Artificial Intelligence to help solve challenging societal problems including addressing the problems faced by disadvantaged groups. Visit their website.

Health in Diverse Populations

Given the diversity of the Los Angeles region, USC is in a unique position to contribute to the scientific understanding of how humans behave and respond to clinical interventions, depending on ethnicity, gender, financial well-being, and many other factors.

Diversity is an emphasis in several schools as well as our major research centers and institutes, but can become a stronger strategic theme for all of our human subject research in the future.

Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC-CTSI) provides education, training and online resources for workforce development, with special focus on clinical research in diverse populations.  Courses include:

Research in Diverse Urban Populations is a certificate course on clinical and translational research in populations characterized by diversity in race, ethnicity, country of origin, and socioeconomic status. Learn more.

Study Population and Study Design in Clinical and Translational Research: Video lecture educates researchers on Study Populations, Target Populations, and Source populations, including challenges in diverse “mega-cities”, such as ethnic and cultural differences, subpopulations, and factors that can bias findings and impair generalization of research findings to broader populations. Learn more.

USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging utilizes aging research to develop programs, services and policy recommendations to improve health and life satisfaction of aging minorities. This includes an NIH funded study to assess the interest and recruit community partners for an interdisciplinary research collaborative. Visit their website.

Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is a major national resource for cancer research, treatment, prevention, and education.  Studies conducted by the center, including tobacco research, cancer communications, nutrition, physical activity, obesity prevention, melanoma and HPV prevention, and screening, either oversample or exclusively focus on low-income minority populations, including but not limited to youth and young adults, taking advantage of LA County’s diversity. Visit their website.

USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Information Institute, in collaboration with the University of North Texas (UNT) Health Science Center and the University of California, San Francisco, was recently awarded $12 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study aging and Alzheimer’s among Mexican-Americans (Health and Aging Brain Among Latin Elders – HABLE). The five-year study will recruit 2,000 volunteers from North Texas – half Mexican-Americans and half non-Hispanic White – to gain a better understanding of how Alzheimer’s affects Latinos differentially. Visit their website.

The Alzheimer Disease Research Center investigates memory problems and aging, such as the Ringman study (Estudio de la enfermaded de Alzheimer en Jalisciences) that leverages the Human Connectome Project protocol to characterize the anatomical, pathological, physiological, and clinical pre- and symptomatic stages of autosomal dominant subtypes in those of Mexican Mestizo origin, a population typically under-represented in Alzheimer’s and other neuroscientific research. By adopting the protocol into Spanish for this population, it also creates a database to enable future studies with Latinos. Visit their website.

The Roski Eye Institute studiesdiverse and underserved populations, including the Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Quality of Life in Latinos study, to assess the association of vision-specific health-related quality of life with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in adult Latinos; the Prevalence of AMD in Chinese American Adults study, to determine the age- and sex- specific prevalence of AMD among Chinese Americans and the African-American Eye Disease Study, finding that African-Americans bear heavier burden of diabetic macular edema. Visit their website.

Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute is a consortium dedicated to the acceleration of therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease. The institute is always running clinical trials, which have a substantial minority recruitment component. Visit their website.

Community-Centered Research

An important aim of scholarly and creative focus is community engaged research. Our goal is to better serve the diverse communities that comprise Los Angeles through research that is not just recognized for its scientific impact, but also conduct research that has a measurable impact on the City of Los Angeles as well as other communities around the nation and the world.

Beyond the City of Los Angeles, USC’s extensive distance education programs in Social Work, Education and other fields provide research opportunities for students around the country.

Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC-CTSI) assists researchers in forming university-community partnerships through workshops, one-on-one consultations and faculty matchmaking, through programs such as: LA-CERC Services for the Community (to help communities and clinical organizations transform health-related needs into promising research) and Los Angeles Community Engagement Core (LA-CERC) Services for Researchers. CTSI also offers these courses:

Community-Engaged Research 101 covers health solutions among groups that have historically been under-represented in medical studies. Clinical investigators learn ways in which community-engaged research differs from traditional research, and how it transforms the role of community stakeholders from research subjects to research participants, who help shape and drive research questions that address urgent health needs. Learn more.

Promotora Instructional Video: This Spanish-language video helps researchers develop community-engaged health interventions involving promotoras – community members trained to serve as health educators and service navigators. Lecturers review step-by-step research protocol and data collection tools that are integral to an evidence-based promotora program. Learn more.

USC Center for Diversity and Democracy: Affiliated with the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, the CDD works with faculty members, Ph.D. students, undergraduate students, and community partners to enhance university-community civic engagement and the diversity of university faculty and students. The Center focuses on research that stresses imagining a future for Los Angeles and other global metropolitan areas of racial equity and social justice, supporting a diverse and excellent pool of faculty and graduate researchers in Los Angeles committed to issues of diversity and democracy in the local area. Visit their website.

USC Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES) Center for Environmental Health Disparities is one of five national university centers funded by the NIH/EPA to work with local communities to better understand ways to improve environmental conditions for vulnerable populations. The MADRES research and outreach programs bring together clinical, environmental, social and public health scientists and community engagement professionals to elucidate the relationships between biological, chemical, environmental, genetic and epigenetic, and social factors. Visit their website.

The USC School of Architecture has been engaged in a multi-tiered response to designing for diverse often disenfranchised or neglected populations, including work with the 32nd Street K-12 Magnet School, and Early Head Start Centers in Promise Zone neighborhoods. It is also active in finding creative solutions of ongoing housing shortages including temporary homeless shelters. Landscape work includes collecting data to support the design of solutions for sites ranging from the Owens Lake valley, Los Angeles River and the Salton Sea. Visit their website.

Environmental Health Science Center develops scientific knowledge, investigator teams, and community engagement needed to reduce the burden of diseases and disability from environmental impacts. An important component of the program is its Community Outreach and Engagement Core that shares research findings with the public, trains community volunteers and student groups in community-based research and functions as a bridge to inform researchers about community concerns, building strong community-academic partnerships to address health impacts and environmental health disparities. Visit their website.

Office of Community Partnerships directs outreach efforts and activities and works with faculty and stakeholders on campus to provide coordination and leadership in facilitating community partnerships associate with community-based health research. Visit their website.

Student & Postdoc Programs

At USC, our aim is to recruit, train, and graduate diverse students and postdoctoral scholars, so that they may become researchers, or may be informed by research methods in a wide range of future careers, making opportunities for conducting research broadly inclusive.

Below are examples of existing programs for undergraduate students, graduate students and post-graduate students at USC that support diversity and scholarship in research as a foundation toward future efforts.

Undergraduate Students

Gateway Scholars provides research training, academic skills building workshops/seminars, other research-related opportunities, and scholarships to high-achieving undergraduates from first-generation college backgrounds, low-income households, and historically underrepresented minority communities. Scholars are awarded a $2,800 stipend to support a full-time summer research agenda throughout the summer while working in collaboration with a USC faculty mentor. Visit their website.

USC Keck School of Medicine Bridging the Gap Summer Research Program exposes outstanding minority students to research, aiming to attract under-represented minority students to medicine and the biological sciences. Students receive a stipend, roundtrip transportation from home, university housing, and conduct summer research for eight weeks in the laboratories of Keck faculty, who serve as mentors; they attend weekly seminars on health disparities, receive formal instruction in basic physiology and biostatistics, and present their findings to the Keck community. Visit their website.

USC School of Pharmacy Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) provides learning and networking opportunities for undergraduate students committed to pursuing either a professional or academic research career in pharmaceutical or translational sciences. Applications are strongly encouraged from first-generation college students and groups underrepresented in graduate education. In addition to daily engagement in the lab, students attend biweekly seminars and participate in a workshops on the graduate school application process, as well as present their research to peers and faculty. Visit their website.

USC Dornsife Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) funds undergraduates for participation as a research assistant in a faculty member’s project, connecting students with faculty members and introducing them, early in their academic careers, to the process of serious scholarly inquiry, fostering valuable relationships between students and faculty. SOAR is for research during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Visit their website.

C-DEBI – Genomics and Geology Undergraduate Research Experience (GGURE) is an undergraduate research internship program that offers students the opportunity to participate in a research group and conduct research with a faculty mentor. Underrepresented students are strongly encouraged to apply. The program provides paid positions in the summer and academic year. The emphasis is in STEM fields (including life science, earth and marine science, computational science, and engineering). Visit their website.

DIA Jumpstart Program supports students from three minority-serving institutions – California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; California State University, Los Angeles; and Loyola Marymount University – to preview the PhD experience through a research-intensive summer program at USC. Participants are matched with USC faculty mentors to act as summer research assistants. This experience is supplemented by training on PhD admissions, research ethics, and skill development. Visit their website.

Science, Technology, and Research (STARS) & Engineering for Health Academy (EHA) Programs: USC faculty promote research education and enhance URM student pipeline from high school to college by mentoring students from the neighborhood Bravo Medical Magnet School (≅ 70% of the student population is Hispanic); students are placed in science labs in the summer following junior year and return as seniors to work throughout the school year. Visit their website.

Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) assists the Viterbi School of Engineering in the recruitment, retention and graduation URM students (African-American, Latino, Native American, and female) pursuing engineering degrees, providing a supportive environment that prepares students academically, professionally, and personally for success as professional and academic engineers. Visit their website.

Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice (CERPP) researches admission and enrollment and fosters equity in college access, admission and outcomes. During the 2016-17 academic year, this program positioned 37 first generation college graduates in 36 high needs schools in Los Angeles as peer advisers, resulting in 14,269 college acceptances. Visit their website.

Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice (CEIDSJ) fosters productive and meaningful interaction among students, educators and members of the community by examining how multiple identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability) meet to create shared values and contribute to the ideals of democracy. Visit their website.

Predoctoral Institute for First-generation and Diverse Scholars (POIR): Two-day summer program to increase pathways toward a Ph.D. in the social sciences for first-generation students and students of color.  Participants learn to develop skills toward crafting their Ph.D. applications, and are encouraged to pursue research opportunities at USC with POIR faculty and to apply to USC Ph.D. programs. Visit their website.

REACH Graduate Engineering Preview is a graduate engineering preview program where under-represented engineering achievers get firsthand exposure to exciting research opportunities, world-class faculty, rich academic programs, stellar student services and mentoring resources. Visit their website.

The Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab
 conducts interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on issues at the intersection of climate change, security, and economic development. These research projects provide opportunities for undergraduate students to develop data science and other research skills. The lab focuses on recruiting and serving female, minority, and first generation students. Visit their website.

Summer Program In Diabetes and Obesity Research (SPIDOR) is a 10-week NIH/NIDDK funded summer research experience providing outstanding underrepresented students in science and medicine an opportunity to gain meaningful exposure to the exceptional research and clinical programs at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of USC. Summer scholars will conduct cutting-edge research in the laboratories of faculty members from the USC Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute (DORI) and will exposed to basic science, translational, and clinical research experiences. The summer session culminates with students presenting their research findings to the KSOM community at large. Visit their website.

SURF and SHURE mentors students one-on-one in research in conjunction with Dornsife faculty members during the summer, introducing students early in their academic careers to the process of scholarly inquiry. Visit their website.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program addresses underrepresentation by increasing the number of students from underrepresented minority groups who pursue PhDs and by supporting the pursuit of PhDs by students who may not come from traditional minority groups but have otherwise demonstrated a commitment to the goals of MMUF. Visit their website.

USC Viterbi Summer Coding Camp (CS@SC) teaches 80-150 elementary and middle school students from under-represented group how to code each year.  The aim is to inspire pre-college students to explore computer science with an eye toward careers as technology professionals, problem solvers and innovators.  The students receive instruction from computer science PhD students who have are trained to interact with elementary and middle school students. Visit their website.

USC Young Researchers Program brings motivated local inner-city public school students to USC to do hands-on research under the guidance of faculty and graduate students. Through their experience working in USC labs as well as through workshops designed to introduce students to university-level science, students gain scientific and communication skills, confidence in their ability to succeed at an advanced level, a better understanding of current research in the sciences, and information and connections to help them attend college and pursue careers in science. Visit their website.

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program is a groundbreaking effort to increase the representation and success of women in science and engineering at USC through a series of creative programs that enable women to thrive at every stage of their careers. Committed to developing fresh approaches to policies and to building a supportive environment for both women and men, the WiSE program is driving USC to the leading edge of diversity in science and engineering. Visit their website.

Graduate Students

DIA Boot Camp is a writing-intensive 10-day workshop for incoming and first-year PhD students applying for Ford Pre-Doctoral, GEM, Soros, NSF GRFP, and other major external and research fellowships. Participants will receive stipends and supplemental research awards based on specific performance goals. Visit their website.

Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS) recruits under-represented minority students, providing the entry portal to PhD programs at the Keck School of Medicine. Targeted fellowships for talented URM students has helped increase their representation, with URM students comprising 25% of the 2016-17 incoming class. Visit their website.

Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work provides Summer Fellowships to PhD and masters students to develop individual research projects and to attend and present at research conferences. Visit their website.

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program is a groundbreaking effort to increase the representation and success of women in science and engineering at USC through a series of creative programs that enable women to thrive at every stage of their careers. Committed to developing fresh approaches to policies and to building a supportive environment for both women and men, the WiSE program is driving USC to the leading edge of diversity in science and engineering. Visit their website.

Post-Graduate Students

The Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program for Faculty Diversity Program enhances the diversity of postdoctoral scholars and builds a pool of exceptional underrepresented minority candidates for the next generation of faculty. These scholars link the expertise of USC faculty and doctoral students with the knowledge and experience gained through their own research. Appointments are for up to two years ($50,000 per year salary plus fringe benefits, with a research and travel account of $5,000 per year). Visit their website.

USC-CONACYT Postdoctoral Scholars Program: In collaboration with Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), this joint program provides postdoctoral scholars from Mexico with 1-2 year postdoctoral fellowships in fields related to science, technology, and innovation. The fellows receive a salary of up to $60,000 per year in addition to $8,000 USD towards a comprehensive benefits package. Visit their website.

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program is a groundbreaking effort to increase the representation and success of women in science and engineering at USC through a series of creative programs that enable women to thrive at every stage of their careers. Committed to developing fresh approaches to policies and to building a supportive environment for both women and men, the WiSE program is driving USC to the leading edge of diversity in science and engineering. Visit their website.

Diversity-Related Research Centers

Alzheimer Disease Research Center is supported by the NIH to conduct research on memory problems and aging. Our studies include following participants over time while examining changes that may occur with age, as well as therapy studies such as exercise training, medications and vaccines. Our goals are to understand the biological changes that may precede worsening memory and whether new treatments or drugs may prevent memory or improve memory loss. Visit their website.

Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute is an academic organization leading a consortium dedicated to the acceleration of therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We are collectively committed to developing new models of AD to test, characterize biomarkers and develop and minimize variability through enhanced quality control of outcome measures by applying novel analytic methods and enact highly innovative regulatory pathways. Visit their website.

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is a leading think tank studying diversity and inclusion in entertainment through original research and sponsored projects. Beyond research, AII develops targeted, research-based solutions to tackle inequality by focusing on three major areas: using research to offer insight, advocating for marginalized groups and facilitating social change. Visit their website.

Center for Diversity and Democracy focuses on research that stresses imagining a future for Los Angeles and other global metropolitan areas of racial equity and social justice, empowering various communities to come together and work in harmony. This research may explore the past, present, or future of these regions, as well as comparisons across national and continental boundaries. Visit their website.

Center for Economic and Social Research is dedicated to discovering how people around the globe live, think, interact, age, invest, and make important, life-changing decisions. Our in-depth research and analysis are deepening the understanding of human behavior in a wide range of economic and social contexts. Our ultimate goal: to improve social welfare by informing and influencing decision-making in the public and private sectors. Visit their website.

Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice is interested in eradicating all forms of discrimination based on the intersection of an individual’s identities including religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and disability. Using rigorous research and legal analysis, we empower educators to utilize laws and policies in order to identify and extricate bias and unequal distributions of power within educational institutions. Visit their website.

Center for Urban Education is working to bring equity-mindedness to institutions of higher education through socially conscious research, tools and learning institutes. CUE empowers practitioners to act as agents of change, enabling them to be critically race conscious as they respond to changing demographics in our educational systems. Visit their website.

Center on Biodemography and Population Health is one of 14 different centers in the Demography and Economics of Aging Centers Program sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. The primary purpose of the CBPH is to provide a synergistic research environment for the integration and translation of research findings from a variety of disciplines to understand population health. Visit their website.

Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging builds upon USC’s longstanding tradition of creating socially relevant research, innovating educational practices, influencing policy making, fostering community-university partnerships and sharing best practices with direct service providers. It maintains a strong interdisciplinary focus, with collaborations among faculty and professionals in many fields. Visit their website.

Equity Research Institute (a merger of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration) uses data and analysis to contribute to a more powerful, well-resourced, intersectional, and intersectoral movement for equity. ERI produces data-driven analysis and rigorous research, leads convenings, engages strategic collaborations, and models effective, sustainable, racially-just research center. Visit their website.

Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg furthers the USC Annenberg legacy of diversity and empowerment studies by framing an impressive cohort of acclaimed scholars, leading research, compelling courses, and impactful programs that allow students to examine the vast complexities of diversity, identity, and culture – across both the School of Communication and School of Journalism. Visit their website.

Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research is dedicated to the advancement of interdisciplinary research and education to improve the health and well-being of society. It maintains the longest running National Cancer Institute T32 research training program. Overall, they are a thriving, dynamic institute that has made significant strides toward promoting health and preventing disease in the population and expects to continue advancing the field in future years. Visit their website.

Institute on Inequalities in Global Health‘s leaders work across disciplines to address the disparities, inequalities and broad determinants of health that impact our world. The institute aims to address those issues that are too complex to have a natural home with any single researcher, department or school. Visit their website.

Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics vision is to be the premier research and educational institution recognized for innovative, independent research that makes significant contributions to policy and health improvement. Their mission is to measurably increase value in health through evidence-based policy solutions, research excellence, transformative education, and private and public-sector engagement. Visit their website.

Maternal And Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social stressors (MADRES) Center for Environmental Health Disparities aims to understand the impact of environmental exposures and social stressors on the health of mothers and their children, and particularly how these exposures contribute to health disparities. Visit their website.

Minority Aging and Health Economics Research Center was established through funding from the NIH to increase the number, diversity and academic success of junior faculty focusing their research on the health and economic wellbeing of minority elderly populations. Visit their website.

Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists work toward a complete understanding of the most fundamental aspects of cancer. They study the abnormal cell growth characteristics of cancer to determine what goes wrong and how the process can be altered, then work to quickly translate those findings into treatment and prevention strategies. Visit their website.

Race and Equity Center unites more than 100 professors across academic schools at USC who are experts on race and racism, people of color, immigration, and other important dimensions of equity. These scholars work together on research, as well as on the development of useful tools and resources. Visit their website.

Saban Research Institute comprises basic, translational and clinical research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As the largest child health care setting in Los Angeles, CHLA is home to a multinational population of patients who have extraordinarily diverse genetic, environmental, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and equally diverse medical illnesses. Visit their website.

Sol Price Center for Social Innovation is developing ideas and illuminating strategies to improve the quality of life for people in low-income urban communities. Together with the Price School, the center works to advance new models of equity and opportunity for low-income children and families, as well as advance the field of social innovation. Visit their website.

Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute is a multifaceted resource for clinical and community-partnered translational research in Los Angeles. They support researchers who face special challenges above and beyond traditional research hurdles. The challenges are opportunities to make research with diverse populations easier and more beneficial for communities. Visit their website.

Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center is a NIEHS-funded center which works to reduce the burden of adverse effects from the environment by rapid identification and better characterization of environmental threats to public health through increased understanding of the basis for environmental diseases and personal susceptibility and by active engagement with communities and policymakers. Visit their website.

Tomás Rivera Policy Institute works to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city. As part of the Price Center for Social Innovation, TRPI produces original research and policy solutions in areas such as Latinos and criminal justice system, civic engagement among immigrant-serving organizations, and more. Visit their website.

Featured Diversity Researchers

Ann Hamilton, Keck School of Medicine
Hamilton is a cancer epidemiologist whose research has focused on breast, prostate, and testicular cancer, as well as Kaposi’s Sarcoma. She has studied cancers in twins and is currently involved with an investigation of the relationship of exercise to endogenous estrogen levels in healthy identical twins.

April Thames, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Dr. Thames is the director of the Social Neuroscience in Health Psychology Laboratory. She has developed a translational neuroscience research program that focuses on the impact of chronic disease, substance abuse, socioeconomic disadvantage, and lifetime stress on neurological, cognitive, and mental health outcomes on ethnic/racial minority groups.

Avelardo Valdez, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
A primary focus of his research has been on the relationship between substance abuse, violence and health issues among high-risk groups. His research projects have been among “hidden populations” such as youth and prison gang members, heroin users, sex workers, aging drug users, and crack users.

Brendesha Tynes, Rossier School of Education
Her research focuses on youth experiences with digital media, and how they are associated with academic and socio-emotional outcomes. She is also interested in equity in digital literacy, which includes empowering uses of digital tools for underrepresented youth.

Cleopatra Abdou, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Abdou’s interdisciplinary research investigates how cultural and psychosocial resources are reflected in the body, brain, and behavior to improve mental and physical health during critical lifespan developmental phases, thereby reducing social status-based health disparities within the U.S. and health inequity globally.

Concepcion Barrio, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Barrio’s work focuses on the cultural relevance of mental health services and on the development and cultural adaptation of interventions for Latino and other underserved and under-researched multicultural populations dealing with severe and persistent mental illness and co-morbid conditions.

Dana Goldman, Sol Price School of Public Policy
Goldman is the founding director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. His research lies at the intersection of health economics and health policy, with an emphasis on improving insurance design.

Estela Bensimon, Rossier School of Education
Bensimon is the Founder and Director of the Center for Urban Education. With a singular focus on increasing racial equity in higher education outcomes for students of color, she developed the Equity Scorecard—a process for using inquiry to drive changes in institutional practice and culture.

Gary Painter, Sol Price School of Public Policy
Painter serves as the Director of the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation and the Homelessness Policy Research Institute. He is a leading figure in the field of social innovation and has extensive expertise in housing, urban economics, and education policy, which shapes his research on how the social innovation process can identify new models of social change within these complex policy areas.

Jennifer Unger, Keck School of Medicine
Her research focuses on the psychological, social, and cultural influences on health-risk and health-protective behaviors, including the role of acculturation and cultural values on adolescent substance use, with the ultimate goal of developing improved prevention programs to reduce health disparities.

Jeremy Goldbach, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Goldbach is Director of the Center for LGBT Health Equity. His research is broadly focused on the relationship between social stigma, stress and health among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and adults.

Jody Agius Vallejo, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Vallejo specializes in immigrant integration, race/ethnicity, and social stratification. Vallejo systematically address these issues with a mixed methodological approach, which combines the qualitative strengths of traditional sociological inquiry (in-depth interviews, participant observation, ethnography) with demographic analysis of representative statistics from the U.S. Census.

Kathleen Page, Keck School of Medicine
Page is a physician specializing in diabetes and childhood obesity. Page has an active research program that seeks to understand the causes of obesity and diabetes so that more effective strategies can be developed for reducing the number of people affected by these health conditions.

Manuel Pastor, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Pastor currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC and USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities.

Natalia Molina, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Molina is a Professor of American Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of two award winning books. Her first book, Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 demonstrates how both science and public health shaped the meaning of race in the early twentieth century. In that work, which garnered an American Historical Association-PCB book prize, she argues that race must be understood relationally in order to see how the laws, practices, and attitudes directed at one racial group affected others.

Ricky Bluthenthal, Keck School of Medicine
Bluthenthal’s research has established the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs, tested novel interventions and strategies to reduce HIV risk and improve HIV testing among injection drug users and men who has sex with men, documented how community conditions contribute to health disparities, and examined health policy implementation.

Rob McConnell, Keck School of Medicine
McConnell directs the NIH/Environmental Protection Agency-supported Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center. He has studied the effects of air pollution on children’s health, including susceptibility to the effects of environmental exposures conferred by psychosocial stress and social factors, exercise, genetics and co-exposures associated with housing conditions.

Roseann Mulligan, Ostrow School of Dentistry
Mulligan is an expert in dental care for special needs patients, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The Special Care Dentistry Association recognized and honored her as the 2014 Saul Kamen Award winner for her exemplary leadership and contributions to the advancement of oral healthcare for persons with special needs.

Shaun R. Harper, Rossier School of Education
Dr. Harper is the founder and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center. His research focuses primarily on racial and gender equity and inclusion in educational, corporate, social, and organizational contexts. He also studies Black and Latino male student success in high schools and in higher education, college student engagement, and intercollegiate athletics.

Shrikanth Narayanan, Viterbi School of Engineering
Narayanan is a Professor at the Signal and Image Processing Institute, Director of the Ming Hsieh Institute and a Research Director for the Information Sciences Institute at USC. His research interests are in signals and systems modeling with an interdisciplinary emphasis on speech, audio, language, multimodal and biomedical problems and applications with direct societal relevance.

Stacy Smith, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Dr. Stacy L. Smith is the Founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Her research is focused on onscreen representation, employment patterns behind the camera, barriers and opportunities facing women and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, economic analyses examining correlates of box office performance and solutions to inequality in entertainment.

Steven Lopez, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Dr. López’s research provides a critical cultural perspective to the study of psychopathology, assessment, and intervention of Latinos and other ethnic minority groups. The overall goal of his research is to reduce disparities in mental health care for Latinos in the United States and Mexico.

Veronica W. Setiawan, Keck School of Medicine
Dr. Setiawan is a cancer epidemiologist focusing on understanding the determinants of ethnic differences in cancer incidence and mortality and identifying populations at highest risk because of genetic and biologic factors, environmental exposures, or a combination of both. Her research goal is to identify effective modalities for disease prevention for population at risk and ultimately reduce cancer health disparities.

Yasemin Copur-Gencturk, Rossier School of Education
Yasemin Copur-Gencturk is an Assistant Professor of Education in the Teacher Education concentration. Her research focuses on teacher knowledge, teaching practices and teacher development, and how these areas relate to student learning with a focus on minorities.