ORI Statement on Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism

Categories: Press Releases


Type: News

Date Published: 06/25/2020

At Oregon Research Institute, we stand together with the Black community against racism in all forms, racial injustice, and racial discrimination. The recent wave of protests and demonstrations in the wake of the racially-biased killings of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many Black persons before them, have laid painfully bare the experience of being Black in America and our history of systemic racism, oppression, racial injustice, and police brutality that puts Black lives at risk. This has become a time of reckoning with painful realities related to injustice, inequity, discrimination, and oppression.

Extensive research has documented that structural racism, racial disparities, racial injustice, and discrimination have an adverse impact on mental and physical health outcomes, over and above the impact of socioeconomic factors alone (e.g. Williams, Lawrence, and Davis, 2019). These disparities are borne out through the impacts of racism on policing and justice systems, safety and security, employment, economic stability, food security, educational opportunities, housing, health care, and other important social determinants of health and wellbeing. At ORI, our research contributes to identifying, understanding, and addressing risk factors that contribute to health disparities for ethnic and racial minorities (e.g. Davis, Dionne, & Fortin, 2013; Duncan, Strycker, & Chaumeton, 2014, Ramírez García, 2019), as well as to racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline (e.g. McIntosh et al., in press; Smolkowski, Girvan, McIntosh, Nese, & Horner, 2016). In our work, we develop and test programs and practices that are designed to improve human health and wellbeing, and we must redouble our efforts to involve diverse vulnerable, marginalized, and historically oppressed populations in our research, such that the evidence-based practices that we develop and test are inclusive of diverse communities and can thus serve to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in population health, education, and well-being. The core of our mission at ORI is to “advance science and enhance lives”. Accordingly, we hold ourselves and our work with our research partners accountable in promoting inclusion and equity. Science can no longer enhance the lives of some members of our communities while overlooking the lives of marginalized populations. A science that does not promote equity (e.g., seeking to eliminate disparities in health and education) is not an inclusive science.

The pain and anguish expressed during this difficult time gives rise to hope and opportunity to enact change and create a society that is just and equitable for all. This is a time to listen and to learn, and a time to educate ourselves about systemic racism, its impacts, and our place in it. There is much that we can all do to make change for the better – as individuals, as organizations, and as a society. At ORI, we commit to:

• Providing opportunities among scientists and staff for discussion and education about systemic racism and racial/ethnic disparities and inequities;

• Broadening our Values Statement to include a more expansive commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in our workplace and in our research;

• Renewing our efforts to connect our research to diverse vulnerable, marginalized, and historically oppressed populations through outreach, engagement, and building community relationships;

• Identifying and supporting efforts to promote equality and anti-racism within ORI and in our broader community, to uphold a society based on equity, fairness, and justice.

In this powerful time of reckoning for the history of slavery and the systemic racism that continues to limit the health, safety, and opportunities of those who are Black, indigenous, and people of color, organizations like ORI that have benefited from white privilege can do no less. We welcome input and feedback from all for how we do this necessary work. Please email ORI’s leadership at info@ori.org.

References:

Davis, B., Dionne, R., & Fortin, M. (2013). Parenting in two cultural worlds in the presence of one dominant worldview. In H. Seline (Ed.) Parenting Across Cultures: Childrearing, Motherhood and Fatherhood in Non-Western Cultures, Science Across Culture Series. The Netherlands: Springer.

Duncan, Susan C.; Strycker, Lisa A.; and Chaumeton, Nigel R. (2014). Personal, family, and peer correlates of general and sport physical activity among African American, Latino, and White girls. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 8(2), article 2.

Ramirez Garcia, J. I. (2019). Integrating Latino/a ethnic determinants of health in research to promote population health and reduce health disparities. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(1), 21-31.

McIntosh, K., Smolkowski, K., Gion, C. M., Witherspoon, L., Bastable, E., & Girvan, E. J. (in press). Awareness is not enough: A double-blind randomized controlled trial of the effects of providing discipline disproportionality data reports to school administrators. Educational Researcher.

Smolkowski, K., Girvan, E. J., McIntosh, K., Nese, R. N. T., & Horner, R. H. (2016). Vulnerable decision points for disproportionate office discipline referrals: Comparisons of discipline for African American and White elementary school students. Behavioral Disorders, 41(4), 178-195.

Williams, D.R., Lawrence, J.A., and Davis, B.A. (2019). Racism and health: Evidence and needed research. Annual Review of Public Health, 40, 105-125. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040218-043750