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

Our goal is to connect individuals and communities with opportunities needed for thriving by educating the public, building the capacity of allied social justice organizations, and investing in efforts that support equity and inclusion. Here at the Kirwan Institute we do this through research, engagement, and communication.

Our mission is simple: we work to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.


Structural Racialization

A structural/systems approach is used to investigate the causes and consequences of racial hierarchy and disparity and to develop policy solutions.

Race in Cognition

Refers to how implicit and explicit mental processes – that are both altered by and contribute to racial inequities – affect individuals’ decisions, behaviors, and lived experiences.

Opportunity Mapping

Opportunity mapping is a research tool used to understand the dynamics of “opportunity” within metropolitan areas. The purpose of opportunity mapping is to illustrate where opportunity rich communities exist (and assess who has access to these communities) and to understand what needs to be remedied in opportunity poor communities.

Social Determinants of Health

The social determinants of health approach is distinguished by a broad focus on the economic, social, political, and psychological determinants of population health.

Civic Engagement

Describes the practices, principles and socioeconomic conditions that comprise the environment in which people interact with their community and come together to make and implement community decisions that provide justice and opportunity for all community members.

The Kirwan Institute supports racially equitable policy and capacity building through its Opportunity Communities Model. This research model brings an intersectional analysis to focus areas such as housing, education, jobs, transportation, health, and criminal justice. We are particularly interested in how Structural Racialization and Race in Cognition create and sustain barriers to opportunity. Our framework for engagement and capacity building around these sources of inequity include:

  • Policy, Law and Civil Rights Research
  • Opportunity Mapping
  • Communications, Field Building and Engagement

Our Opportunity Communities Model advocates for equitable investment in all people and neighborhoods to improve the health of entire regions.

Learn more about our research model, initiatives, and view all of our research reports and briefs.

The Kirwan Institute plays a critical role as a trusted convener, collaborator, and strategic partner to many organizational and community advocates. Strategic partnerships and collaboration are a priority, enabling us to expand the reach of our research through the diverse work of our partners. We frequently share information and assist in strategy development.

View Kirwan in the news.

The Institute creates original research and reports to share with our partners, grassroots activists, researchers, community leaders, and policy-makers. Our staff regularly attends conferences and meetings to share our research and exchange ideas. We engage with news media and credible blogs about the Institute’s findings and implications of our research. The Institute uses multimedia and social media platforms to communicate our research, implications of our research, and perspective in diverse ways.

View Kirwan articles  and media releases.


Latest Biennial Report

You Can Help Make An Impact – Give to Kirwan Today


Help us to create opportunity in our communities


The Kirwan Institute is locally and nationally engaged in marginalized communities to expand opportunity for all,  focused in areas such as employment, health, education, criminal justice, and housing.

We collaborate with organizations to think creatively and critically about race and ethnicity and their connection to issues affecting opportunity.  Our projects are integrated with sound research, strategic communication, and advocacy. You can support The Kirwan Institute today. Your investment in our mission will help to “create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.”

For more information, please contact Dinessa Solomon, Executive Director of Foundation Relations at solomon.189@osu.edu.

How to Give

There are two ways to give to the Kirwan Institute:


To make a donation by credit card:

1. Go to Ohio State’s secure server.

2. Select your desired gift amount

3. Select the ‘‘Search’’ tab next to ‘‘I want to support.’’

4. In Search box, type ‘‘Kirwan Institute’’ and select ‘‘The Kirwan Institute Fund’’ as your preferred recipient.

5. Fill in the ‘‘My Information’’ form

6. In the ‘‘Special Instructions’’ box, please type: Donation for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.


To make a donation by check:

1. Please make check payable to: The Ohio State University Foundation

2. Send to: Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, 33 W 11th Avenue, Room 115 Columbus, OH 43201


Thank you!!

Strategic partnerships and collaboration are a priority.

Our PartnersView All Partners

We have deep gratitude for all our funders, partners, and supporters.

TestimonialsView All Testimonials

Kirwan’s Opportunity Maps as the Backbone to Regional Planning

But, what I really wanted to express was my excitement and appreciation for the work you have done on the opportunity maps. They are coming together great and they finally make sense to the working group. After the meeting several people were discussing how they have never seen the coast in this light. It presents a regional perspective and, even though more refinement is necessary, it will generate much more discussion among the working group and beyond, and should be the backbone to the regional planning we hope to achieve.

Elaine G. Wilkinson Executive Director, Gulf Regional Planning Commission

Diligent Work

Here are the remaining maps for the regions in the FHFA’s auction, thanks to diligent work from the Kirwan Institute GIS staff.

Philip Tegeler President/Executive Director, PRRAC

Kirwan Presentation Informs and Energizes

Once again, your willingness to provide your presentation twice is going to [be] beneficial for some of the additional registrants of the summit… So many people just do not know, with information from the summit, including your session, they will leave informed and energized, we hope.

Vivian Jackson Anderson, M.A., LSLP


Mikyung Baek

Senior Research Associate



Mikyung, Senior Research Associate at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, works in the Opportunity Communities Program. She joined the Institute in 2005 and has been involved in various projects, particularly those related to children and youth. One of her recent accomplishments at the Institute includes her involvement in Diversitydatakids.org project, for which she worked extensively on mapping child opportunity index for 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technology and an M.A. in Foreign and Second Language Education, both from The Ohio State University, and an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Statistics from Pusan National University, South Korea.


Research Interests: Indicators of opportunity for children and youth and their life experiences, spatial (GIS) analysis of opportunity, food (in)security and health equity, and their relationship with neighborhood conditions.

Kierra Barnett

Graduate Research Assistant

Joshua BatesJoshua Bates

Social Policy Analyst


Joshua Bates is Social Policy Analyst at the Kirwan Institute for the study of Race and Ethnicity. His research is focused on urban poverty, juvenile justice issues, community trauma, and program evaluation. Furthermore, Joshua works as Outreach Coordinator for I Am My Brother’s Keeper (IAMBK). Within this capacity, he both presents nationally on IAMBK and builds relationships with other programs that engage with youth of color. Joshua works diligently to change lives on the national, local, and individual level.

Kelly Capatosto

Senior Research Associate



Kelly Capatosto is a Senior Research Associate working to expand the Kirwan Institute’s Race and Cognition work on education, criminal justice, and trauma. Kelly joined Kirwan in August 2014 as a graduate research associate. During this period, Kelly specialized in applying research on implicit racial bias to inform education policy and practice. Much of her work addressed issues of school discipline, disability, and racialized trauma. Her most recent reports can be found on the implicit bias and school discipline website.

Beyond education, Kelly has written several inter-disciplinary reports linking implicit bias insights to other domains, including co-authoring the annual literature review, the State of the Science. Kelly’s research interests include exploring how race influences outcomes in the following domains: social cognition, education, mental and emotional health, and behavioral economics. In addition to her research, Kelly presents implicit-bias findings to select academic audiences.

Kelly received her Masters of Public Administration at Ohio State’s Glenn College of Public Affairs in 2016. Additionally, Kelly has earned a M.A. in school psychology and a B.A. in psychology from Ohio State University.

In her spare time, Kelly enjoys participating in small-scale community wellness initiatives and directs a volunteer program that develops community gardens and addresses food security issues in Columbus.

jason-duffieldJason Duffield

Web/Visual Communications Specialist



Jason is the Web/Visual Communications Specialist for the Kirwan Institute. He joined Kirwan in 2013 and has over 13 years experience in graphic design and web design, including over seven years experience in WordPress site development and maintenance. Prior to joining Kirwan, Mr. Duffield worked as the Graphic Design Specialist at West Virginia State University where he helped create a comprehensive rebranding campaign.

Jason earned his Associate in Specialized Technology, Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA.

Tannya Forcone

Graduate Research Assistant

Brittany Francis

Graduate Research Assistant

Sheeba George

Legal Intern

Leigha Grosh

Legal Intern

Dwight “Kip” Holley

Research Associate II and Civic Engagement Specialist 



Kip Holley, Research Associate II and Civic Engagement Specialist, is a researcher and community advocate dedicated to bringing innovative solutions to bear on racial inequalities through a lens of community engagement and social capital. Kip has worked on a variety of civic engagement related projects with partners from areas as diverse as Central Ohio, Detroit, and California’s Central Valley.

Kip has helped to add to the knowledge of the connection between community decision-making and racial equity, contributing on a number of reports and publications. In his publication, The Principles for Equitable and Inclusive Civic Engagement: A Guide to Transformative Change, Kip synthesizes research from domains as diverse as social psychology, political science, and economics to describe how racially charged narratives turn into inequitable policies across a myriad aspects of community life.

Kip has also lead workshops and lectures about civic engagement both with students in academia and with residents in a number of communities and his work has been used to influence communities, institutions, and organizations nationwide.

Kelsey Hopkins

IAMBK Intern

Kelsey is a Student Program Assistant for the I Am My Brother’s Keeper program. A native of the Columbus, Ohio area, Kelsey graduated from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2015 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Communications. Upon returning to Columbus she enrolled in The Ohio State University and is currently a dual Master’s student studying Public Affairs and Social Work with a focus on Community and Social Justice. She has a passion for furthering the development of youth and communities through programs and policy and is looking forward to applying what she is learning throughout her studies during her time with the Kirwan Institute and I Am My Brother’s Keeper. 

Clarence Jackson

Program Assistant

Clarence is a research assistant from Dayton, OH. He attended Bowling Green State University where he graduated with a degree from the College of Human Development and Family Studies and taught as a service learning instructor. For I Am My Brother’s Keeper, he acts as a scholastic liaison working between the schools, the university, and the kids to make sure they have the resources they needs for a good education. He is also a member of the community engagement team, and works directly with students and their families on a weekly basis.

Art JamesDr. Arthur R. James

Executive Director
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity


Dr. Arthur R. James is an Obstetrician, Gynecologist, and Pediatrician who has been involved in the care to underserved populations for the entirety of his medical career.  In previous practices, he has been the Medical Director of a Neighborhood Health Center (FQHC-site), Medical Director of Bronson Methodist Hospital’s Women’s Care Clinic, and founding/Medical Director of Borgess Medical Center’s Women’s Health office.  In each of these efforts, he has been instrumental in expanding services to indigent patients, patients using drugs, HIV positive pregnant patents, and to teens.  He is also the founder and former Medical Director of the Kalamazoo County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review team and, for many years, led the Kalamazoo County community’s efforts to reduce infant mortality and reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy.


As of July, 2011 he is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pediatrics at the Ohio State University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, former Co-Director of the Ohio Better Birth Outcome (a Franklin County, Ohio organization whose purpose it is to improve overall infant mortality and decrease racial disparities in birth outcomes), Co-Chair of the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality (a statewide collaborative to improve infant mortality in the State of Ohio), and is a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Ohio Department of Health (2011-2016).


He is a member of the Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality and a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Healthy Start Association.  He is currently a board member/treasurer for the Centering Healthcare Institute, Inc. and is a co-chair for the Center for Disease Control and March of Dimes Health Equity workgroup.  Dr. James has received numerous local and national awards for his advocacy to achieve equity in birth outcomes.  He is also a frequent national speaker on infant mortality, especially regarding the national racial disparity in birth outcomes.


As of May 1, 2017 he is the Interim Executive Director of The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.


Zachary Kenitzer

Post Doctoral Research Associate

(614) 292-7691


Zachary E. Kenitzer, Ph.D. is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at The Kirwan Institute. His research specializations are in plan and policy analysis, evaluation, and implementation with secondary specializations in Urban Planning history, theory, and applied research methods. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Zachary is passionate about challenging the status quo to improve the lives of all through equitable and inclusive civic engagement at different governance scales. Previously, he has worked on projects in Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast regions. He is also a creative problem-solver, and graphic communication design-geek. His work has been published in the Journal of Urban Affairs, the International Journal of E-Planning Research, the Guardian (U.K), and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Amy Malcolm

Office Associate

(614) 247-7774

Tara McCoy

Fiscal & Human Resources Manager 



Tara works as the fiscal and human resources associate for the Institute. She was the first member of the Kirwan staff, hired in April of 2003, and originally was hired as the Executive Director’s assistant, along with handling the fiscal and human resources side of the Institute. As the Institute has grown, Tara’s focus has shifted totally to the administrative side of the Institute. Prior to working for the Kirwan Institute, Tara worked with the Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University for three years within grant project management and departmental human resources management. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from The Ohio State University in 1998.

Mary McKay

Graduate Research Associate and PhD candidate in Sociology

Mary is a dedicated proponent for research promoting social justice and equity. Interested in the intersection between immigration and place, Mary’s personal research explores how neighborhood context influences health outcomes among immigrants. Her latest project involves understanding the complexities newly resettled refugees face when they arrive to the United States.

Her work at Kirwan focuses broadly on the concept of place inequity—ranging from the impact of race on housing outcomes, to barriers for boys and children of color, to understanding how implicit bias in housing interventions continues to lead to further prejudice and tension. She has been a part of numerous research projects at Kirwan, including six publications with partners throughout Central Ohio. Her skills include both qualitative and quantitative methods. After completing her PhD, Mary would like to use the skills she has mastered in both her academic training and her time at the Kirwan Institute to make lasting change in America’s communities—big and small.

David NorrisDavid Norris

Senior Researcher



David Norris manages the Kirwan Institute’s Health Equity Mapping projects. Prior to joining Kirwan, David was a researcher at Community Research Partners, where he provided GIS support to numerous projects and managed CRP’s DataSource neighborhood data access website. He also has over 10 years’ experience in child advocacy and policy support with KidsOhio.org and Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio and, prior to that, as a workshop instructor and journal editor with the American Chemical Society. David holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from The Glenn School at The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from Ohio University.


Jillian Olinger

Senior Research Associate; Director, Housing and Civic Engagement



Jillian is a committed advocate bringing expertise in fair housing and fair credit, the intersection of housing with other important life domains (for example, child well-being, education), and community engagement. She excels in acquiring new foundations of knowledge and translating the academic into practical applications for the community development field. She is a skilled collaborator helping stakeholders identify and move towards goals of equity in community development and engagement. In her ten year career with the Kirwan Institute, she has been involved in over fifty publications, including one book chapter. Her work has been shared with community members, policymakers, academics, and advocates.

Jillian graduated from The Ohio State University in 2009 with a Masters in City & Regional Planning, and a Masters in Public Policy & Management.

Michael Outrich

Graduate Research Assistant

Annalisa Perez

Program Assistant

Annalisa Perez is a program assistant from Cleveland, Ohio. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Ohio State University. Annalisa coordinates and facilitates Experiential Learning programming for I Am My Brother’s Keeper as well as doing mentoring and program development coordination in South Side Columbus City Schools as a part of the community engagement team.

Jason Reece

Interim Director of Research

Jason Reece is an assistant professor, in the City & Regional Planning Program, at the Knowlton School of Architecture. His research, teaching and professional experience focuses on social equity in city planning, fair housing, health equity and asset-based community development.

Reece has acted as an advisor and capacity builder to foundations, non-profits, community organizations and government agencies. He has managed more than $10 million in research initiatives and contributed to more than 110 scholarly or technical publications. His work has been featured in 41 media publications and was an invited guest speaker to more than 300 professional engagements. Reece has worked with partner organizations in more than 30 states in the US and acted as a capacity builder for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Sustainable Communities Initiative for four years. He currently is President of the Board of Directors for the Parsons Avenue Community Development Corporation.

Reece is currently the Interim Director of Research for the Kirwan Institute. He was formerly the senior associate director and director of research, roles in which he established the opportunity communities program at the Institute, developed the opportunity mapping methodology and established the Institute’s health equity program.

Karima Samadi

HEAL MAPPS Research and Extension Coordinator

Kyle StricklandKyle Strickland

Senior Legal Analyst


Kyle Strickland is the Senior Legal Analyst at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity. His work focuses on local and national civil rights issues, criminal justice reform, fair housing policy, and equitable access to education. In addition, Kyle assists in project development for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Columbus, which provides educational and community opportunities for boys and young men of color.

Prior to joining Kirwan, Kyle earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he served as Student Body President. Kyle, a native of Columbus, earned his B.A. in Political Science from The Ohio State University.

Glennon Sweeney

Senior Research Associate



Glennon is a senior research associate at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Community Assessment and Metropolitan Change unit. She joined Kirwan in 2011 and in 2014 began leading the Institute’s food justice work. Her work focuses on issues related to food security and access, metropolitan neighborhood change, housing, civic engagement, equity and the intersection of jurisdictional fragmentation and social service delivery. A member of the Franklin County Local Food Council and the Worthington Community Relations Commission, Glennon holds a Bachelor’s in geography and political science, a Master’s in city and regional planning, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in city and regional planning.

Lena Tenney

Researcher and Facilitation Specialist



Lena Tenney (pronouns: they/them/theirs) joined the Race & Cognition Program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in 2016. As a Researcher and Facilitation Specialist, they work collaboratively to conduct research on and facilitate workshops, presentations, and trainings about implicit bias and structural racism. Lena is a co-author of the 2017 edition of the Kirwan Institute’s State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review publication.

A trained intergroup dialogue facilitator, Lena is interested in continually identifying and implementing strategies that encourage active engagement with topics that are often considered difficult to discuss. These approaches include public engagement through social and traditional media in addition to in-person facilitations. As such, Lena helps to manage the Kirwan Institute’s social media presence. [1] They have been interviewed on Vermont Public Radio [2] and they contributed to the Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias Learning Lab Exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. [3]

Lena is a founding member of two grassroots community activist groups that have sought to ensure legal protections for and institutional inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals at the municipal and campus levels. Coalition-building with student activism collectives dedicated to advocating for students of color and students with disabilities has been central to their activism. Lena currently serves on the LGBTQ Student Success Task Force for The Ohio State University and as a member of the Board of Directors for TransOhio [4]—a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for transgender individuals and communities.

Lena graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters of Education and a Masters of Public Administration. They also hold a Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies and History from the University of Oklahoma.

[1] https://www.facebook.com/KirwanInstitute/ and https://twitter.com/KirwanInstitute

[2] http://digital.vpr.net/post/how-do-vermont-schools-address-racism#stream/0

[3] http://freedomcenter.org/exhibits/OpenYourMind

[4] http://www.transohio.org/

Ashley Wilson

Ashley Wilson

Program Manager – Outreach and Engagement



As the Outreach and Engagement Manager for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Ashley utilizes strategic planning, project management and sustainable relationship-building to effectively advance the missions of the Institute, as well as key university and community stakeholders. As the co-director of I Am My Brother’s Keeper, Ashley develops and directs the program’s central components to ensure IAMBK is fulfilling its mission to provide opportunity and support to boys of color residing on the South Side of the city. Ashley has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism (specialization in Public Relations) from Bowling Green State University, and is currently undertaking post-graduate study at The Ohio State University.