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IASP has a New Name!

The Institute for Economic and Racial Equity (IERE)

Research. Health. Assets. Change.

To our IASP family and all our friends working to advance equity,

In November, on our blog, the IASP Lab, I shared some words about a new direction for our Institute {To Assets and Beyond: Crossing Disciplines and Cultures to Address Inequities}. In it, I mentioned our aspiration to expand our team and our partnerships, as well as broaden our scope into new focus areas. To that end, we are taking one step forward today by changing our name from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy to the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity (IERE).  Centered on bridging research to policy, action, and practice, we will build on our track record of excellence in community-engaged work, investigating racial inequity and gaps across marginalized identities, and utilize our assets-grounded lens to expand the scope and impact of our work. Our new title reflects our continuing commitment.

Our website presents three main foci- racial wealth and economic equity, work and opportunity pathways, and housing and community stability.  Our Institute’s researchers have always pushed boundaries to press into the myriad ways in which structural racism reinforces inequity. This is because, truly, none of the issues that foster white supremacy are isolated. They flow into and between each other. For example, our work on Children’s Savings Accounts and student loan debt has clear implications on education. Similarly, our work on housing often intersects with mental and physical health. In the coming months and years, I intend for us to push that even further, building an overarching, holistic approach for sustainable change.

With my own training and experience in mental health, urban and environmental policy from Tufts University, and population and international health, focusing on international health epidemiology (Harvard School of Public Health), we expand our capacity to address the social determinants of racial inequity plaguing our country. We won’t stop there. We will be hiring and partnering with racially and ethnically diverse visiting and permanent scholars to build a team that can study inequities holistically, bringing expertise in land and food sovereignty democracy and civic engagement, inclusive fiscal and financial policy, environmental justice, and legal reform. If you’d like to learn more about our framework and strategy for change, please read our new IERE Funders’ Brief.

The strength of IASP was rooted in its dedication to working with and across communities, stakeholders, and funders. This will not change. IERE will continue to center affected communities in our work and will make community-engaged research a larger part of what we do. At the same time, we will engage more partners and stakeholders, forming an interdisciplinary, multi-cultural advisory board to work with us to build our capacity and connect across constituency priorities. We are already looking forward to exciting partnerships with national, regional, and local groups, such as the Rand Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy and the Waltham Black Futures Fund. We will also be pursuing more partnerships with other Brandeis and Heller research institutes.

Finally, while we have always engaged students from Heller to assist with our research and gain valuable experience, we are renewing our dedication to act as a stepping-stone for young scholars. We are already in the process of creating summer internships for PhD students to cover the summer funding gap and create more opportunities for practice and publication. In the not distant future, we hope to announce a postdoctoral program for scholars of color to study racial and economic inequities.

I hope you share our excitement for this new chapter. Over the next few years, you will see new faces joining our team, new and innovative projects, and a stronger institute, better positioned to tackle the inequities that continue to plague the United States. Building upon a strong foundation, we hope to grow into an institute that is known to be in dialogue with activists and communities – one that can respond quickly to the current moment and co-develop solutions and strategies with those most affected.


Maria Madison, IERE Director