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UW School of Public Health announces ARCH: Center for Anti-Racism and Community Health

Published on March 3, 2022

Aerial view of University of Washington, specifically "the quad"
Recently, the UW School of Public Health launched the Center for Anti-Racism and Community Health (ARCH), an initiative that will facilitate collaboration, advocacy, & shared decision-making with BIPOC communities. We are excited to see how ARCH can engage with health and equity in cities. Image Credit: College of Arts & Sciences

Coinciding with this year’s Black History Month theme of “Black Health and Wellness,” today the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health announces the launch of the Center for Anti-Racism and Community Health (ARCH).

Led by inaugural Director Dr. Wendy E. Barrington, the ARCH Center will serve as a community-driven academic hub focused on the critical interrogation and disruption of racism and racialization within systems while centering those most impacted by legacies of U.S. colonization.

“We will ground our approaches in the wisdom of Black and Indigenous peoples because current manifestations of structural racism in this country are rooted in historic harms to these communities,” says Dr. Barrington. “We will work in solidarity to address the experiences of racism and racialization of different communities from that position. We hope to be responsive to local and regional needs and contribute to a national agenda for health equity action.”

The goal of the ARCH Center is to co-develop a structure that includes opportunities for consultation, collaboration and partnership, advocacy and activism, and shared decision-making with Black and Indigenous communities as a form of reparations for legacies of slavery, genocide, and assimilation.

“Having the ARCH Center within the university dedicated to providing space for Black and Indigenous thought is so critical because it creates a home for the values and knowledge of communities who have historically and systematically not been served by higher education,” states Dr. Derek Jennings, an Assistant Professor in the Health Systems and Population Health department within the School of Public Health. His work includes building and creating new Indigenous knowledge around health and well-being. “I am hopeful that the ARCH Center will encourage and attract future scholars, creating a community of enlightenment around Black and Indigenous thought that will enact real change.”

Guided by anti-racism, critical race theory, and community-based participatory research principles, the ARCH Center’s research will focus on testing strategies to break down mechanisms of structural racism while strengthening avenues for public health accountability to communities. Achieving these anti-racist goals requires a multi-pronged approach:

  • supporting anti-racist literacy through co-design, implementation, and evaluation of trainings and curriculum
  • recruitment of students, staff, and faculty from systematically marginalized and excluded communities
  • restructuring institutional policies, practices, and social environments at UW.

The ARCH Center will pursue its goals through public health scholarship and partnerships with local public institutions, businesses, and communities.

Examples of community partnerships include ongoing projects with African American churches in Seattle as well as the Pandemic and Racism Advisory Group for Public Health Seattle-King County, the Community Health Board Coalition of King County, Washington State Department of Health, and several health systems across the state.

Continue reading at UW School of Public Health

Originally written by UW School of Public Health staff for UW School of Public Health. 
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