West Coast Poverty Center

UW’S West Coast Poverty Center Named Partner in New National Poverty Center Collaborative

The West Coast Poverty Center is among partners in a newly formed Collaborative of U.S. Poverty Centers.

The initiative is headed by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the nation’s longest-standing center for poverty research, and funded by a five-year cooperative agreement from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), the principal advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on development of policy and legislation, strategic planning, policy research and evaluation, and economic analysis.

The collaborative aims to establish a sustainable, nationwide infrastructure to facilitate the exchange of applied poverty-policy research ideas and findings among the nation’s top scholars, policymakers and practitioners. It will provide research, training, and dissemination activities focused on producing and promoting evidence to increase the effectiveness of public policies to reduce poverty and inequality and their consequences. Founding partners also include the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, the Center on Race and Wealth at Howard University and the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. 

The West Coast Poverty Center works to bridge gaps between anti-poverty research, practice and policy by connecting scholars, policymakers and practitioners; facilitating important social policy research; magnifying the reach of new knowledge; and fostering the next generation of anti-poverty scholars. At the UW, the center mentors and supports the next generation of poverty scholars and practitioners through its ongoing research seminar and by brokering awards and research opportunities for faculty and students. Beyond the university, the center works to bring poverty-relevant knowledge to policymakers and practitioners and to engage researchers and practitioners in dialogue through outreach, communications and events.

Founded in 2005 as an interdisciplinary effort, the center receives ongoing support from the UW School of Social Work, and its 45 faculty affiliates draw from multiple UW units including the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Public Health and the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. 

“We are pleased that the University of Washington will be part of this new national collaborative focused on creating and applying new knowledge,” said Jennifer Romich, the center’s director. “The West Coast Poverty Center is honored to support and share the work of anti-poverty scholars, practitioners and policymakers in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.”

Lawrence Berger, director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, said, “We look forward to continuing to work closely with ASPE, other federal agencies, and our CUSPC partners … in producing and using research evidence to improve the lives of Americans who are struggling."

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