In an effort to help bridge academic research with community and policy impact, the Office of Global Community Initiatives is currently working to create macro focused initiatives in two major areas: race relations in the US and issues faced by military veterans in the Pacific Rim.

Race Symposium

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work hosted a national Race Symposium in 2017, a one-day event with academics from across disciplines and U.S. universities. This was a joint effort with Dean John L. Jackson Jr., PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. The focus of the discussion was to highlight how race research extends beyond academia and creates change in social policy as well as an impact in the broader community.

Race Symposium
Race Symposium

USC, Los Angeles - January 18-19, 2017

Video Part One   Video Part Two

Dr. Cherrie Short, associate dean of global and community initiatives for the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, and Dean Jackson led the discussion, which included presentations from USC Provost Michael Quick and Dean Marilyn Flynn, who spoke of the importance of research focused on race relations.

Twenty leading academics and researchers who were diverse in their views and expertise as well as their ethnicity, representing health, social work, gender studies, history, law, business and other specialties, gathered with the shared goal of ensuring the relevance of evidence-based research in fostering positive social change in this important area. In advance of the symposium, participants shared papers and book chapters covering such topics as health disparities, reproductive justice, racial profiling, workplace inequality and resentment over the election of President Barack Obama.

Participants agreed that their research findings must be communicated beyond their own fields, reaching people who disagree as well as those whose voices are in accord. Dean Marilyn Flynn urged the attending scholars to connect their scholarly work to practical applications so that concepts of diversity and inclusion can take deeper root among the general public as well as policymakers.

The one day symposium became a committee of researchers that intends to continue working as a proactive cohort of faculty and universities to address issues of racism and inequality in regards to research, policy and community impact. Dr. Short and Dean Jackson continue to head the committee, and are currently working with Dean Flynn and faculty members to plan and implement a follow up session that is inclusive of community and university stakeholders. Additionally, the group of researchers is now working toward publishing related articles under the umbrella of this new, national initiative.

Please stay tuned for upcoming events related to the Race Symposium.

APRU Symposium

In recognition of a global need to ensure the well-being of military veterans — particularly on issues related to mental health, housing, education, and employment — the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, along with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, under the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), hosted members of the APRU and researchers in the military field for a two-day symposium on global military veterans policy, held during spring semester 2017.

APRU Symposium
APRU Symposium

USC, Los Angeles - May 18-19, 2017

Video Part One   Video Part Two

The symposium provided a forum for in-depth discussion on issues related to the health and welfare of veterans in the Pacific Rim. It engaged experts from the academic, research and military fields in discussion of ideas, challenges, policy priorities and current research trends.

Dr. Cherrie Short chaired the steering committee for the symposium, which included active participation from Dr. Carl Castro, associate professor and director of the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR), Dr. David Pedlar, research director at Veterans Affairs Canada and the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work 2016 Fulbright visiting research chair in military social work, and Dr. John Romley, associate professor in the USC Price School of Public Policy and economist at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.

The symposium kicked off an intensive exchange of ideas about cutting edge research that can help facilitate an international dialogue about policy relating to services provided to military service members in the Pacific Rim region, and focused on four major themes: the GI Bill, benefits and disability for veterans, suicide among veterans, and successful transition to civilian life.

The event welcomed Lieutenant General (Ret) Jeffrey W. Talley as a featured speaker, also the former chief of the U.S. Army Reserve. Dean Marilyn Flynn and Dean Jack Knott of USC Sol Price School of Public Policy attended and helped lead the discussion on next steps, as this is seen as a stepping stone toward a larger initiative between the two schools and the APRU.

The APRU committee is currently planning phase two of the project and is now joined by additional faculty.

Christopher Tremewan, secretary general of APRU, said he was intrigued by the emphasis on disaster management, recovery and relief, particularly the social role of the military. He proposed further partnership among APRU members focused on disaster relief and resilience.

The school's APRU committee will now work toward developing a five-year plan focused on disaster management recovery relief and the social role of the military in this particular area. As more extreme events hit the Pacific Rim region, all of us have to face an enhanced role for various kinds of civil defense.

This is an encouraging development for USC leaders, who are dedicated to using the symposium as a vehicle to engage partners and researchers in long-term work focusing on policy change and social impact.

Please stay tuned for upcoming events related to the APRU Symposium.