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Participate in a Survey on Perceptions of Gender Norms

The Kirwan Institute has teamed up with The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio to study the relationship between implicit and explicit bias, gender norms, and how these factors impact economic success for women in the Central Ohio community.

Support The Kirwan Institute

Our research is designed to be actively used to solve problems in society. Research and staff expertise are shared through an extensive network of colleagues and partners—ranging from other researchers, grassroots social justice advocates, policymakers, and community leaders nationally and globally, who can quickly put ideas into action.


MTV addresses gender bias and created a seven-day de-biasing cleanse. Developed in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the gender bias cleanse will include activities like setting a counter-stereotypical image as the background on your phone, identifying the gender norms you were raised with and consuming media that helps build empathy and understanding for situations uniquely faced by women.
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Our new Pinterest page we will make our research, articles, issue briefs, and multimedia projects available for easy sharing and access.
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United Way of Central Ohio’s Champion of Children, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Community Research Partners have collaborated to spotlight the challenges boys of color face and the provide an opportunity to examine the intersection of race and gender, and how it continues to influence opportunities to succeed.
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The Kirwan Institute began publishing its annual State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review in early 2013. We are very excited to release this third issue as a part of our continued commitment to help deepen public awareness of brain science work underway at universities and colleges across the country about hidden biases that can shape our judgments and decision-making without our conscious awareness.
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New This Week at Kirwan

Champion of Children Report: Jason Reece, Research Director, has been teaching the “Place Matters” mini-course for practitioners in the College of Public Health. On Wednesday, he was a panelist at the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s release of the 2015 Champion of Children Report Boys of Color, Boys at RiskHe did an exceptional job explaining data from the report and elaborating on the disparities that exist in the life trajectories for young boys and men of color.


Working with the Columbus Police Department: On Monday, Cheryl Staats, Senior Researcher, visited the Columbus Police Department to help construct an implicit bias lesson plan for law enforcement officers. Following that, Kwame and Robin co-facilitated a “Talking About Race” dialogue / presentation for the staff of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.  The session helped staff members examine the role that structures, policies, and history play in shaping the life experiences of the clients Legal Aid serves.


School Discipline Issue Brief: Kelly Capatosto, Graduate Research Associate, wrote a new policy brief that documents, tracks, and evaluates emerging interventions in K-12 school discipline policy.  This piece follows the changing landscape of school discipline in the U.S. as districts begin to abandon zero-tolerance policies.  We’re interested not just in changes to overall discipline rates, but what that means in terms of racialized discipline disparities.  The report has been posted to the “School Discipline” page on Kirwan‘s website. The direct link to the report can be found here.


Kirwan’s work on the South Side of Columbus: As part of our South Side work, on Monday Dwight “Kip” Holley, Research Associate, worked with some of our interns and Habitat for Humanity to facilitate surveys related to housing. Yesterday he spoke to students in Jason Reece’s class about Kirwan‘s work on the South Side and this weekend he will be in Lansing, Michigan for the final statewide conference for the Michigan Race Equity Coalition.


Continuing the Fair-Housing Debate: Kirwan submitted its second manuscript entitled “Neighborhood Opportunity and Location Affordability for Low-Income Renter Families” for publication in Housing Policy Debate. The article looks at expanding metrics looking at housing and transportation costs to include metrics of school quality.



More Than My Brother’s Keeper


Like the nation, Franklin County and the Columbus community have struggled to expand and secure pathways to opportunity for African American men and boys. Our community reflects the many systemic and structural challenges facing the African American community nationwide.

Targeted investments connecting young African American men and boys with pathways to opportunity can equip them with the tools needed to strive for more than just survival on the city’s Southside.

Such investments will empower them to lead engaged and fully participatory lives as equal citizens, with improved consequences for themselves, their families, their communities and the Columbus, Ohio region. Learn More…

Implicit Bias

Latest Review

Download the 2015 State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review

State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2015

The Kirwan Institute began publishing its annual State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review in early 2013. We are very excited to release this third issue as a part of our continued commitment to help deepen public awareness of brain science work underway at universities and colleges across the country about hidden biases that can shape our judgments and decision-making without our conscious awareness.

The implications of this body of scientific study—both decades old and newly emerging—are enormous. Contrary to the common belief that the nation’s progress with gender and racial equity has largely confined biases today to a small group of aberrational actors, researchers have shown that implicit biases are widespread and operate largely beneath the radar of human consciousness. Learn More…

Implicit Bias in School Discipline

Implicit Racial Bias in Education Introduction

Understanding racialized discipline disparities in K–12 public education, is crucial, as students who are “pushed out” of the classroom are denied educational opportunities. This research seeks to shed light on racialized discipline disparities and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by focusing specifically on implicit racial bias as a contributing factor to persistent discipline disproportionalities in schools.

Materials on this page highlight the relationship between implicit racial bias and school discipline. Included among the materials are documents that shed light on discipline disparities in Ohio, documents that explain how implicit racial bias can operate in the education domain and influence school discipline, a national scan of successful intervention strategies, issue briefs, a communications and social media toolkit, and other materials. We encourage you to share this content widely. Learn More…

Infant Mortality

Infant mortality is the rate at which babies die within their first year of life. Infant mortality is a measure that can be used to gauge the trends in women and child health, the quality and availability of medical care, public health practices, and the economy overall.

The Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task Force members have extensively studied the evidence on what works and the experience of other communities. They have considered how these practices and approaches can best be adapted to address the unique challenges – and build on the distinct strengths – of our own community. The Task Force also asked the community for its ideas about how we can turn the tide. Below are key findings from this process and an overview of the plan and recommendations. Learn More…

Food Mapping Project


In June 2013, The Ohio State University Food Innovation Center awarded an Innovation Initiative to the Mapping the Food Environment project.

The objectives of this research initiative were:

  1. To develop a comprehensive, user-friendly food access data hub to facilitate research and collaboration for food mapping-related research to enhance productivity and maximize community benefit;
  2. To integrate secondary and primary data sets related to food security, food access, food production, health, community assets, sociodemographic variables, and food affordability for use in translational outcomes-based research;
  3. To integrate and enhance the existing mapping and modeling methodologies that have been developed by team members, and test and improve food environment indicators for use in evaluating policy interventions. Results of this project will provide the infrastructure and preliminary data and results for grant proposals to USDA, CDC, and health-oriented foundations (e.g., Robert Wood Johnson).

Kirwan is a proud partner in this work and its impact on scholarship, teaching, community engagement, and the student experience. Learn more…

Food Mapping Team-related publications

Mapping the cost of a balanced diet, as a function of travel time and food price

Kirwan Authors: Christy Rogers and Jason Reece
Authors: N. Hilbert, Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Wendy Ake, and Casey Hoy

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development 5(1):1-23.


Alternative Agrifood Projects in Communities of Color: A Civic Engagement Perspective
Kirwan Authors: Glennon Sweeney, Kareem Usher, Kip Holley, and Christy Rogers
Authors: Casey Hoy, Jill Clark, and Colleen Spees

(submitted to Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development Call for Commentaries on Race and Ethnicity in Food Systems Work).


Finding Our Compass: The Process of Building our Community-University Food Mapping Team
Kirwan Authors: Christy Rogers
Authors: Michelle Kaiser, Michelle Hand, Casey Hoy, and Nick Stanich

(under review, Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship).

The State of Food Mapping: Academic Literature since 2008 and Review of On-Line GIS-Based Food Mapping Resources
Kirwan Authors: Glennon Sweeney and Christy Rogers
Authors: Michelle Hand, Michelle Kaiser, Jill Clark, and Colleen Spees

(forthcoming, Journal of Planning Literature)


Community-University Engagement via a Boundary Object: The Case of Food Mapping in Columbus, Ohio
Kirwan Authors: Christy Rogers
Authors: Jill Clark, Michelle Kaiser, Richard Hicks, Casey Hoy, and Colleen Spees

(forthcoming, Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education).


Building Health Communities of Opportunity

healthy places

The Kirwan Institute is deeply engaged in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI).  The Institute has advised HUD on the program and is working with Sustainable Communities grantees in several regions. Learn More…

Sustainable Communities of Opportunity


Health is more than health care. It not only reflects personal choices about healthy habits, or access to primary care, but is significantly impacted by where one lives. Social factors like poverty, unemployment, housing, education, and the food system collectively exert an equally important, maybe even greater, impact on health. Although access to health care services and individual behavior play important roles in determining health, one’s immediate environment and access to opportunity structures are significantly more important. Kirwan’s research in this area has highlighted the importance of the spatial dynamics of health opportunity in understanding the social determinants of health and health outcomes. Learn More…

Opportunity Communities Model


As a national leader in using data-driven tools and mapping to guide equity efforts, Kirwan actively supports data-informed equity and engagement initiatives in regions and municipalities located across the nation. This ongoing capacity building work is essential to creating Opportunity Communities, and the Institute will continue to partner with peer data and mapping organizations to promote this field development.

View a Prezi presentation on Opportunity Mapping.


Kirwan strives to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have the opportunity to succeed. With that mission at the center of all that we do, Kirwan will conduct and disseminate research to deepen understanding of implicit bias and racial trauma, to expose how these powerful cognitive forces create and reproduce barriers to opportunity, and to promote interventions that protect against and reduce their influence.

Doctor Checking the Blood Pressure of a Patient

In an area of rapid growth for the Kirwan Institute, we have forged new partnerships with experts in the fields of medicine and public health to promote community- and place-based efforts to improve health and health outcomes. Kirwan will continue to expand on this work to help educate the public, practitioners, community organizers and policymakers about the central role that regional and community development policies and fair and stable housing polices can play in addressing deep, structural health inequalities.

Kirwan will continue to support national fair housing and fair credit reform through ongoing collaboration with peer partners in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. Kirwan will work to advance the implementation of HUD’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) policy, to evaluate its impacts, and to provide critical feedback to HUD to inform future housing reform.



Below is a comprehensive list of Kirwan research reports. For specific report requests,  please contact Jamaal Bell at bell.875@osu.edu.

Black Male Achievements

The Geography of Opportunity: Mapping to Advance Racial and Social Equity in Portland, OR

Mapping Child Well-being in Duval County, FL

Research Domain: Race in the Mind

A Quick Look at Standardized Testing and Stereotype Threat

Growing Together for a Sustainable Future: Strategies and Best Practices for Engaging with Disadvantaged Communities on Issues of Sustainable Development and Regional Planning

The African American Agenda: A Path to Transformative Change

Equity in Early Learning Opportunities: Examining the Roles of Place, Space, and Race

Employment Opportunities and Challenges for Lower-Income Older Adults: Opportunity & Mapping Analysis for Baltimore, MD MSA

Black Girls in Franklin County, Ohio: Progress, Power and Possibility

Building Housing and Credit Opportunity for All: A Civil Rights Response to “Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market: A Report to Congress”

Opportunity & Mapping Analysis for White Center, WA

Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools

Quality Matters: Achieving Benefits Associated With Racial Diversity

Opportunity and Location in Federally Subsidized Housing Programs

Bibliographical Guide to Structural Racialization, Implicit Bias, and Systems Thinking

Higher Education and Diversity: Ethical and Practical Responsibility in the Academy

Attaining the American Dream: Racial Differences in the Effects of Pell Grants on Students’ Persistence and Educational Outcomes”

Detroit Civic Engagement Fellows: Site Visit Workbooklet

Beyond the Quick Fix: ARRA Contracting, Jobs, and Building a Fair Recovery for Florida

ARRA and The Economic Crisis: One Year Later

An Ethnographic View of Impact: Asset Stripping for People of Color

What is a Bank Robber?

Bending Toward Justice: An Empirical Study of Foreclosures in One Neighborhood Three Years After Impact and a Proposed Framework for a Better Community

Access to Consumer Credit Post Foreclosure

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency: Key to Safety and Soundness and Consumer Protection

Credit and Lending in Communities of Color

Does Discretionary Pricing Mean Discriminatory Pricing?

Extending Credit to Marginalized Communities

Fannie, Freddie, and the Future of Fair Housing

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: How Can We Increase Their Support of the Mortgage Market?

Breaking the Bank / (Re)Making the Bank: America’s Financial Crisis and the Implications for Sustainable Advocacy for Fair Credit and Fair Banking

Mortgage Lending and Foreclosures in Immigrant Communities: Expanding Fair Housing and Fair Lending Opportunity Among Low Income and Undocumented Immigrants

Furthering Fair Housing, the Housing Finance System, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises

Race-Recovery Index: Is Stimulus Helping Communities in Crisis?

Rethinking Value: The need for a new conceptualization of value in the context of blighted, urban neighborhoods recovering from the foreclosure crisis and decades of neglect

Subprime Lending in the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County

Understanding the Subprime Crisis: Institutional Evolution and Theoretical Views

Fair Credit and Fair Housing in the Wake of the Subprime Lending and Foreclosure Crisis: Findings from the Kirwan Institute Initiative

No Home in Indian Country

Montclair Public Schools: Focus Groups

Race-Recovery Index: Is Stimulus Helping Communities in Crisis?

Targeted Universalism and the Jobs Bill: Helping Communities in Crisis Through Targeted Investments

The State of Black Ohio: At a Crossroads on the Pathway to Opportunity

Health Insurance Only Partial Solution to Racial Health Disparities

The Geography of Opportunity: Mapping to Promote Equitable Community Development and Fair Housing in King County, WA

Race-Recovery Index: Is Stimulus Helping Communities in Crisis?

Shining the Light: Revealing our Choice

Shining the Light: A Practical Guide to Co-Creating Healthy Communities

Guide to Community Workforce Agreements

Race-Recovery Index: Is Stimulus Helping Communities in Crisis?

Recovering From Crisis: A Review of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in Florida’s Economic Recovery

Unemployment Insurance, the Recession, and Race

Race-Recovery Index: Is Stimulus Helping Communities in Crisis?

School Integration Framing & Messaging: Toward a Transformative Conversation

Shining the Light: Revealing Our Choice in the St. Cloud Region

Affirmative Action in Ohio: A Resource for Policymakers and Advocates

Where’s The Stimulus? State and Regional Profiles of the Recovery Act Investment in New York State

Recommendations for Assuring Robust Civic Engagement & Equity in Detroit’s Shrinking City Planning Effort

Opportunity Communities: A Pathway to Sustainable and Livable Communities


Coming Soon | Free To Ride The Documentary

Is public transportation a civil rights issue? Free To Ride follows a community group in Dayton, Ohio and their four-year struggle to gain access to jobs and education by bus to a booming neighboring suburb of Beavercreek. The Beavercreek administration doesn’t want buses in their community in fear of what public buses bring into their community. What are these fears and why block buses? This clash between neighbors captures the attention and intervention from federal government. How did this problem get solved… Did it get solved. Coming Fall 2015!  Learn more…

Free To Ride: Official Trailer

Free To Ride Featurette: Civil Rights & Transportation

Free To Ride Featurette: What is Legal Aid

Coming Soon | URBANStrings The Documentary

Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity’s documentary on the community youth orchestra, Urban Strings. URBANStrings The Documentary is a story about a community group creating opportunities and exposing arts and culture to the youth of Columbus, Ohio. This documentary will also feature interviews with the musicians, families, and directors. The film will include the history of African Americans and stringed instruments. Learn more…

URBANStrings The Documentary: Official Trailer

URBANStrings Featurette: Introducing the Director

Digital Shorts

Short productions in support of The Ohio State University and the Kirwan Institute’s goals and initiatives.

Do You See Me, Hear Me, Know Me: Students of Color Address Cultural Misconceptions

Student panelists shared personal experiences in response to misconceptions about their ethnicity and culture. Panelists also talked about how they encourage understanding and not judgment.

[January 22, 2015] Hale Black Cultural Center
Moderated by Eric Troy, MA; Program Manager, ODI

This a part of an ODI Diversity Discussion Series led by Robert Decatur, Program Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Program

The Value of Students in the Columbus Community

The 2015 Office of Student Life Multicultural Center’s United Black World Month “Repairing the Breach” intro video.

A Reading of the Letter from Birmingham Jail

This is a non-fiction film commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The film stars community leaders of Columbus, Ohio and educators and leaders of The Ohio State University. The Letter from Birmingham Jail is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racial discrimination, arguing that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws. After an early setback, it enjoyed widespread publication and became a key text for the American civil rights movement of the early 1960s. Learn more…

Former Morehouse President Reaction to The Letter

TRAILER: A Reading of the Letter from Birmingham Jail

Morehouse Alumni Conversation About The Letter



As a university-wide, interdisciplinary research institute, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity works to deepen understanding of the causes of—and solutions to—racial and ethnic disparities worldwide and to bring about a society that is fair and just for all people.

Kirwan Institute research is designed to be actively used to solve problems in society. Its research and staff expertise are shared through an extensive network of colleagues and partners—ranging from other researchers, grassroots social justice advocates, policymakers, and community leaders nationally and globally, who can quickly put ideas into action.


Sometimes, barriers within society prevent people from accessing opportunity. Such barriers are not always obvious to others—yet are real obstacles to success. Sustainable jobs, quality education, safe and affordable housing, a healthy environment, and access to health care are all important factors for stability and personal advancement in life. All of these factors, among others, interact to create a “web of opportunity.” How people and groups are situated within this “web” significantly influences their chances for happiness and success in life.

The Kirwan Institute uses a structural/systems approach to investigate the causes and consequences of racial disparities and to conceive policy solutions.

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established at The Ohio State University in May 2003 and named for former university president William E. “Brit” Kirwan in recognition of his efforts to champion diversity.

The Kirwan Institute is led by Executive Director Sharon Davies, a former Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Notes and Comments Editor of the Columbia Law Review while in law school at Columbia University. After graduation she worked as an Associate Attorney for Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. and Lord, Day & Lord Barrett Smith in New York City, and later served at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  Davies joined the law faculty at Ohio State University in 1995, was awarded tenure in 1999, promoted to Full Professor in 2002, and named the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor in 2003.  Davies teaches and writes in the area of criminal justice, and race and law.  She is the author of Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America (Oxford 2010).

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