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Emily Ozer and research team awarded the 2020 Institutional Challenge Grant

Update: The William T. Grant Foundation has announced that a research team led by Emily Ozer of Berkeley Public Health, Susan Stone of the School of Social Welfare, and Norma Ming of the San Francisco Unified School District has won the 2020 Institutional Challenge Grant. With support from Berkeley Public Health, the School of Social Welfare, the Graduate School of Education, and the office of Vice Chancellor for Research, the research team will use this partnership grant to support research with the San Francisco Unified School District to address inequalities in the school system and chronic absenteeism — inequalities that will likely be worsened by the COVID-19 crisis and school closures.

The William T. Grant Foundation announced that Emily Ozer, a community psychologist and professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and a team of researchers known as the San Francisco Unified School District Research Practice Partnership have been selected among four teams as finalists for the prestigious Institutional Challenge Grant.

The William T. Grant Foundation focuses on funding research and practice in social and health inequalities among youth. Through its Institutional Challenge Grant, the foundation aims to support the work of research-practice partnerships: research teams demonstrating collaboration between research institutions and public agencies or nonprofits to address youth inequalities. The winner of this grant, to be announced in March, will receive $650,000 over three years to sustain community-based research to address youth inequalities.

Ozer, a psychologist focused on adolescent development and youth participatory action research, has made a career of connecting research with community-based practice. A co-director of a research center at UC Berkeley called Innovations for Youth, Ozer has targeted her most recent research on inequalities in the classroom context, particularly in public schools in San Francisco. A grant from the William T. Grant Foundation would support her research assessing the youth outcomes of chronic absenteeism.

This recognition adds to a list of honors Ozer has received over the last few months. Last fall, she was recognized on a list of 40 Changemakers by San Francisco Peer Resources, a community-based organization that had partnered with Ozer to develop the YPAR Hub. Ozer also received fellow status late last year at the American Psychological Association.

“This group of research-practice partnerships shows great promise for using research to address existing inequalities that affect youth’s experiences and outcomes at school,” said Kim DuMont, senior program officer for the William T. Grant Foundation, in a statement. “Further, the proposed plans for institutional change will better support and value researchers who engage in this important type of scholarship. We commend each team for their ideas and efforts.”

The San Francisco Unified School District Research Practice Partnership includes Emily Ozer as principal investigator, Susan Stone of the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare as co-PI, Norma Ming of SFUSD as agency PI, along with the following multidisciplinary co-investigators: Coco Auerswald, Devin Corrigan, Deb McKoy, Jason Okonofua, Valeria Stone, Chunyan Yang, and Qing Zhou.