Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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IASP in the News

"The Widening Racial Wealth Divide" by James Surowiecki in The New Yorker

"Public-interest groups are calling on Education Dept. to track racial disparities in student lending" by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel in The Washington Post

"A Rising Force: On the State of Black Philanthropy" by Ade Adeniji in Inside Philanthropy

"As Los Angeles Gets Younger, Skid Row Gets Older" by Stacy Marlena Torres in

"BET's founder on why there aren't more black-owned startups" by Andy Medici in the Washington Business Journal

"Economic inequality is the cause the the consequence of our racial problems" by Michael Hiltzik in LA Times

"Two Stories from the Frontlines of Millennial Caregiving" by Jason Resendez in HuffPost

"Why the Racial Wealth Gap Harms Everyone--Even Whites" by Rebecca Adamson, Rose Brewer, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Meizhu Lui, and Barbara Robles in

See previously published news articles

What's New

October 2016

Meschede a panelist at A Nation That Works Conference

Research Director Tatjana Meschede was a panelist on the session "Aligning and Coordinating Systems to Improve Employment Outcomes for Rapid Re-housing Participants" at the 2016 A Nation That Works Conference. The conference is part of the Heartland Alliance's National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity.

Meschede moderates panel at EMPath Conference

Research Director Tatjana Meschede moderated a panel at EMPath's "Disrupting the Poverty Cycle 2016" conference at UMass Boston. The panel looked at "Neighborhood Poverty and Family Financial Security." 

Santos presents "Inside Inequality" at Dartmouth College

Senior Research Associate Jessica Santos led an interactive workshop, "Inside Inequality: Power & Privilege Across the Life Course," at Dartmouth College as part of Dartmouth initiative to address inequities on its campus. Her talk highlighted findings from her research on opportunity hoarding and other mechanisms that perpetuate racial inequality.

September 2016

Shapiro receives 2016 Assets & Opportunity Award

Director Thomas Shapiro was presented with the 2016 Assets & Opportunity Award at CFED's Assets Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. This award was given in recognition of his work with Melvin Oliver, who also received the award, on Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. Congratulations, Tom!

Santos leads workshop in New Hampshire

Senior Research Associate Jessica Santos led a workshop that introduced the Culturally Effective Organizations Framework for the New Hampshire Health & Equity Partnership. This workshop provided a foundation for a new work group in Manchester.

Provost Research Award Presentations

Janet Boguslaw presented "Outsourced at Home: The Impacts for Job Quality, Public Resources," and Tatjana Meschede and Sara Chaganti presented a poster on "Homeless Families: Can Targeted Workforce Development Improve Employment and Housing?" at Brandeis University September 15, 2016. These research projects had been supported by University Provost Research Awards.

Boguslaw editorial appears in Boston Globe

Featured on Labor Day, an editorial by IASP Associate Director Janet Boguslaw and Heller Senior Research Associate Margot Trotter Davis addressed what happened to the Hyatt 100 and why we should care. 

August 2016

IASP Presents at ASA Annual Meeting

Director Thomas Shapiro presented "College Affordability, Student Debt and the Racial Wealth Gap" in a special session on College Affordability at the annual ASA meeting in Seattle, WA. At the same meeting, Research Associate Sara Chaganti spoke on "Job Readiness Training: Preparing Low-income Adults for Employment" at a roundtable session on Culture and Organizations.

July 2016

New Secure Jobs brief released

The fourth research and policy brief in this series compares implementation, participation, and employment outcomes from the first two phases of the Secure Jobs study. Findings point to the need for increased planning and the importance of vocational training and employment services. 

Meschede article published in Zeit Online

Research Director Tatjana Meschede authored an article on racial wealth disparities in Zeit Online.

See more What's New

IASP Impact

The new Annie E. Casey Foundation brief, Investing in Tomorrow: Helping Families Build Savings and Assets, draws on IASP's research on the racial wealth gap.

IASP Director Thomas Shapiro spoke to CFED staff on American's growing racial wealth divide in the first of CFED's Race & Wealth podcasts

Sen. Elizabeth Warren used IASP's research in her September 27, 2015 speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United State Senate.  

Santos Dartmouth

Jessica Santos, PhD, Senior Research Associate, presented "Inside Inequality: Power and Privilege Across the Life Course" to faculty, staff, and students at Dartmouth College on October 3rd.  This talk was sponsored by Dartmouth's Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity and is part of a larger strategy the institution is pursuing to address a range of inequities on their campus. Santos' interactive talk highlights findings from her research on opportunity hoarding and other mechanisms that perpetuate racial inequality in health career pathways, and encourages participants to critically analyze the ways in which we study, think, and talk about inequality.  In addition, participants apply life course theory, asset theory, and intersectionality to specific cases of inequality that they have experienced or observed, and together the group identifies systemic, policy-oriented solutions to further equity.  

Chaganti presentationChaganti presents at Conference on Self-Sufficiency

Sara Chaganti, IASP Research Associate, presented a poster at the 2016 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency June 1. The conference was sponsored by the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and took place June 1-3 in Washington, D.C. Chaganti's poster, "Supporting Self-Sufficiency through Cross-Systems Collaboration: An Innovative Service Delivery Model for Homeless Families," came out of a multi-year evaluation of the Secure Jobs Initiative IASP is conducting in partnership with the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation.  Secure Jobs is a new service model for homeless families that integrates employment and housing services to provide holistic support to families in crisis.  Learn more about the Secure Jobs Initiative and read about IASP's research here.  

Secure Jobs Brief 6New Secure Jobs Brief Compares Phases I and II of Program

The fourth research and policy brief in this series compares implementation, participation, and employment outcomes from the first two phases of Secure Jobs.  While Phase One was limited to families in a short-term rental support program, Phase Two expanded to include families in shelters, motels, and other emergency housing programs. Findings point to a) the need for increased planning for recruitment when expanding eligibility; b) the importance of vocational training, which increases employment attainment significantly; and c) the importance of providing employment services in shelters and motels. Contrary to popular expectations, participants living in shelters and motels showed no difference in employment attainment or job quality from those living in rental subsidy programs.

Shapiro discusses the Racial Wealth AuditTM

Featured Projects

Good Jobs Good Health cover

Report highlights the role of policy in producing Good Jobs and Good Health 

The Healthcare Employer Research Initiative, a federally-funded research partnership with the NH Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs, and the study Beyond Supply and Demand, funded by the Endowment for Health, resulted in a comprehensive set of findings summarized in IASP’s new report, Good Jobs Good Health: Diversifying the Workforce through Policy and PracticeFindings point to a need for new collaborative program models and innovative policies for employment and economic inclusion.  This report draws together the findings from issue briefs produced over the last 4 years and focuses on five key policy areas:  building culturally effective organizations; diverse workforce training, retention, and advancement; network development; improving quality and performance; and patient and family engagement.

 Good jobs and good health are mutually reinforcing policy areas. When employers and other key partners strive to develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce, it increases opportunity in the healthcare sector and is good for communities.  Diversity also has positive impacts in the workplace.  This research contributes to a mounting body of evidence demonstrating that workforce diversity and cultural competency improve quality care, patient satisfaction, and return on investment – all of which have major roles in driving the industry today.  Policies and practices designed to create culturally effective organizations also produce positive impacts for those who obtain jobs in health care:  equity and access to good jobs is a key determinant of good health.  The healthcare sector is well positioned to lead the charge in developing a more diverse, productive, and sustainable workforce in tandem with more inclusive, adaptable, and culturally effective workplaces. The five key areas of policy and practice reviewed in this report comprise a new and broader way of approaching quality workforce and workplace development.

cover of Less Debt, More Equity"Less Debt, More Equity: Lowering Student Debt while Closing the Black-White Wealth Gap"

With rising numbers of young people accumulating student debt as they strive for a higher degree and a more secure economic future, the growing financial burden of student debt on young households is increasingly highlighted on the agendas of policymakers and the media.  However, policy conversations to date have failed to address the racial disparities that exist in student borrowing and how student debt impacts the racial wealth gap among young households. 

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) and Demos released “Less Debt, More Equity: Lowering Student Debt while Closing the Black-White Wealth Gap” to add a racial equity lens to the discussion.  Using the Racial Wealth Audit™, a framework developed at IASP to assess the impacts of policies on the racial wealth gap, this report highlights how new policies can both lower overall student debt burdens and reduce racial wealth disparities among young households. Such reforms must be designed carefully, directing debt relief towards low and moderate income households.  With momentum growing to address the burden of student loans, policymakers and advocates have the opportunity to develop solutions that could halt the growing tide of student debt while also reducing the substantial racial wealth gap among young households.

Patient and Family Advisory Councils support organizational improvement and workforce diversity

Patient and Family Advisory Councils coverThe Healthcare Employer Research Initiative found that efforts to support workforce diversity are more likely to be supported by all members of an organization if they are part of a broader package of strategies to achieve organizational cultural effectiveness and quality care.  In recent years, hospitals across the United States have pursued patient and family engagement strategies to improve satisfaction and quality of care. One of the leading engagement strategies is to develop Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) – groups of current and former patients and family members who collaborate with a hospital’s staff to address pressing challenges confronting the organization. Diverse PFACs support a process of organizational improvement that positions healthcare organizations to deliver quality health care to current and future patient populations. Patient and Family Advisory Councils: Advancing Culturally Effective Patient-Centered Care provides guidance for healthcare organizations that seek to identify successful approaches to the development of diverse and effective PFACs.

"Tipping the Scale: How Assets Shape Economic Wellbeing for Women and Families"

click here to download briefCaregiving responsibilities and changes in household composition, such as divorce or separation, create financial challenges that disproportionately affect women. The seventh brief in the Leveraging Mobility series, “Tipping the Scale: How Assets Shape Economic Wellbeing for Women and Families,” examines how families leverage neighborhood, institutional, and personal resources to protect against these gendered, wealth-stripping forces. Framed by national trends that point to racial disparities in access to these resources, the brief uses comparative case studies to explore how unequal access shapes the set of strategies and trade-offs available to women and their families. A webinar cosponsored by IASP and PolicyLink was held on December 10

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