USF selects 23 research projects for funding in anti-racism effort

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A University of South Florida research task force working to address racial issues and attitudes on a local, national and global scale has selected 23 projects exploring a wide range of issues in systemic inequality, economic and health disparities, Black history and contemporary challenges for funding.

The USF Research Task Force on Understanding and Addressing Blackness and Anti-Black Racism in our Local, National and International Communities, which was first announced by the university in July, selected the projects as a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to create deeper understanding of complex issues while forging solutions and productive community partnerships. The effort was prompted by several factors, including the long-standing issues of racism and institutional violence brought to the forefront by the recent deaths of Black men, women and children due to excessive force from law enforcement, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s Black communities and other concerns.

Projects spanning eight USF colleges and all three campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee will be part of the year-long effort funded through $500,000 provided by the Office of the Provost and USF Research & Innovation. The Florida High Tech Corridor Council also is supporting the effort.

The projects include a series of efforts within the Tampa Bay region to address systemic issues in education, health care, economic inclusion and identity, while other projects will take USF researchers to as far away as Brazil and South Africa to examine those same issues.

Including co-principal investigators, nearly 90 USF faculty members are involved in the research projects, some of which also will include undergraduate and graduate student researchers.

The initiative reinforces USF’s Principles of Community, which affirm the values of inclusivity, equity and mutual respect. 

“The University of South Florida has a responsibility to help create a civil, humane and compassionate society that deeply values diversity and inclusion,” USF President Steve Currall said. “Advancing innovative, interdisciplinary research is a key element of our active commitment to addressing racism in society.”

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One of the projects selected came from the USF College of Public Health:

Increasing Job Opportunities for Young Black Fathers to Improve Child and Community Health.

PI: Ronee Wilson, College of Public Health

Community Partners: REACHUP, Inc.

Inconsistent employment and unstable finances hinder young Black fathers’ ability to develop healthy relationships with their children. This project seeks to address unemployment and underemployment among young Black fathers by providing the infrastructure for these men to fill employability skills gaps in manufacturing industries. Through interviews with young Black fathers and human resources professionals and executives at manufacturing firms, the researcher will examine how family health practices of young fathers differ in times of stable employment compared to unemployment and underemployment; what employability skills do young Black fathers possess; and to what extent are employers actively committed to and engaged in recruiting and hiring young Black men.

Repost from USF Newsroom.