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Black History Month Community Conversation with Westat Panelists

March 1, 2021

Researchers from Westat’s health, education, social policy, and statistical areas held a panel discussion on our equity work and projects with Black communities on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. The webinar, moderated by Chanza Baytop, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., showcased our staff’s work in a range of subjects. Panelists shared their experiences with survey research, community engagement, evaluation, capacity building, and cultural responsiveness, as well as best practices.

David Marker, Ph.D., spoke about a study of racial profiling at traffic stops in a major city that observed a random sample of drivers at various points of time and locations. He also discussed research performed as an expert witness on voter ID cases in federal and state courts.

Donna Atkinson, Ph.D., discussed patient-centered care collaboration to eliminate health disparities. She highlighted important elements, such as selecting key stakeholders, identifying target communities and appropriate interventions, and using implementation science.

Karen Gray-Adams, M.A., and Jenna Scott, Ph.D., described their work on a study of the Racial Equity Action Leadership Program in Montgomery County, Maryland, and how it plays a role in shaping racial equity mindsets for participants.

Their focus was to use Critical Race Theory as a framework to understand the vital role organizations and their staff play in building racially equitable communities and organizations. The theory centers the role of race and racism in the social world and has been applied to examine inequities across multiple disciplines.

Wesley Williams II, M.Ed., highlighted the importance of developing an action plan for equity and culturally responsive teaching and leading that ensures a high-quality learning experience that leads to success for all students

“Embedding a racial equity perspective in our work yields findings that more accurately reflect the life experiences of people of color,” noted Dr. Baytop. “In turn, this work provides policy and program decision makers with information to tailor solutions that address the underlying factors that perpetuate inequity.”

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