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Our Work

Our research approach focuses on prevention and alleviation of poverty through many levels of intervention. We embrace and encourage action-oriented collaborations with community-based organizations.

Key Issues

We address poverty alleviation and prevention from several angles and paths of study. Explore our key issues for a comprehensive collection of research, data tools, policy briefs and more.


Our working papers, journal articles, and policy briefs examine policies and programs that have the potential to expand economic opportunity and reduce poverty.

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Policy briefs summarizing key
academic research
findings with important
implications for public policy.

University of Michigan Research Centers

Poverty Solutions supports and collaborates with various research centers housed at the University of Michigan to promote a better understanding of how poverty alleviation efforts intersect with family well-being, racial justice, child health, and other areas of study.

Center for Equitable Family & Community Well-Being

The goal of the Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being, led by Social Work Professor Trina Shanks, is to encourage and support win-win university-community engagement efforts by connecting the resources and intellectual strength of the University of Michigan with the passion and social capital of community leaders.

The primary criteria for any of the center’s project work is that it explicitly improve the well-being of families and/or communities and reduce existing inequities. Although there are many partnerships and models of engaged research that take place between the university and external individuals or groups, the work is often disconnected, especially as they show up in the Detroit metropolitan area. The methodology introduced by the center is intentional about connecting other U-M centers and initiatives around center projects and associated goals.

Learn more about the Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being.

Program on Equity In Child Health at Mott Hospital

The Program on Equity In Child Health (PECH) at Mott Hospital aims to examine the potential for inequity resulting from variation in the actual care provided by clinicians and hospital personnel to children and their families. Considerable research demonstrates differences by gender, income, race and ethnicity in the way adult patients are provided care across numerous conditions. However, with very rare exceptions, similar studies have not been conducted with regard to the care of children.

This program provides the first critical steps in beginning a process to assess the perceptions of inequities at Mott Hospital. Discussions with nursing, clerical, and therapy staff have identified several potential areas where hypothesized inequities in the way families are provided care may exist. Three of these areas were prioritized by the leadership of Mott Hospital for initial assessment. If inequities are found, the Quality Improvement Department at Mott Hospital will design and implement QI programs to address them.

PECH, led by Dr. Gary Freed of Michigan Medicine and School of Public Health, is supported by Poverty Solutions’ 2020 faculty grant program.

Center for Racial Justice

The Center for Racial Justice is a cross-disciplinary hub that aims to foster deep relationships between research and advocacy to uncover the voices of the unjustly silenced, challenge us to live up to our democratic ideals, and offer sound policy prescriptions for a more equitable and just society. Housed at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at U-M, the center directly invests in collaborations between social/racial justice changemakers— activists, artists, policy advocates, and policymakers. Together, we develop new tools and strategies in the pursuit of racial justice, resulting in better policy solutions and the cultivation of the next generation of high-impact leaders and thinkers.

The Center for Racial Justice is led by Celeste Watkins-Hayes, the Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, and professor of sociology. Learn more.