Skip to main content

School launches inaugural ‘Black History Month Research Series’

Throughout the month of February, UNC School of Social Work has hosted a series of workshops that examines research within an anti-racism framework. The inaugural “Black History Month Research Series” is a collaborative project created and sponsored by UNC’s Global Social Development Innovations (GSDI) and INSPIRED Lab.

The series has showcased research from UNC social work faculty, doctoral students and alumni as well as invited presentations from external scholars.

“This series offers thought provoking and cutting-edge ideas, procedures, and research findings that address persisting disparities and inequities and have the potential to advance equity for Black people as well as other marginalized groups,” said Trenette Clark Goings, School of Social Work Sandra Reeves Spear and John B. Turner Distinguished Professor and founding director of the INSPIRED lab, which works to achieve health equity through innovative and rigorous research, education, and community engagement.

For Associate Dean for Global Engagement and Johnson-Howard-Adair Distinguished Professor Gina Chowa, the series also offers an opportunity to confront the disparities that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) often face.

Such disparities and inequities stem from centuries of racism and poverty, the researchers agreed.

“The work to correct these disparities continues and what better way than to leverage research to interrogate ways of addressing these disparities,” said Chowa, founding director of GSDI, which works to strengthen the well-being of marginalized populations globally through the use of innovative interventions and advancements in policy.

The workshops have been hosted virtually, noon to 1 pm, on Feb. 2, 10, and 17. The research series concludes on Feb. 24 with the final workshop “Coping amidst COVID as BIPOC.” Participants can earn one free continuing education credit hour for each workshop they attend. Workshop descriptions, panelists and registration links are listed below:

Black History Month Research Series

Feb. 2, 2022: How to be an anti-racist researcher

Antiracist researchers combat inequality and racism by conceptualizing, implementing, and disseminating research that dismantles racism, oppression, discrimination, and structural inequalities. This presentation offers participants an opportunity to learn how to engage in antiracist research by presenting a counter-narrative to the traditional conceptualization and implementation of research with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Panelists include:

  • Trenette Clark Goings, Ph.D., UNC School of Social Work
  • Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D., VCU Department of Social and Behavioral Health
  • Faye Z. Belgrave, Ph.D., VCU Department of Psychology
  • Carey B. R. Evans, Ph.D., UNC INSPIRED Lab



Feb. 10, 2022: Conceptualizing anti-racist research

Andrea Murray-Lichtman will explore the current debate about centering race and racial equity in research, policy, and practice. The engaging conversation will encourage participants to evaluate the implications of their research, policy, and practice goals in light of history and the current climate. She will end by exploring a path forward and determining possibilities gained by centering race and racial equity in research, policy, and practice.

Moderator: Tauchiana Williams, LCSW 

Speaker: Andrea Murray-Lichtman, LCSW 

Discussant: April Parker, LCSW



Feb. 17, 2022: Measurement in research: Using an antiracism framework

Measurement in research is critical as it lays the foundation for a more accurate understanding of the magnitude of a phenomenon, the impact of an intervention, or other causal relationships that will translate into practice models and policies that have real-life implications on people’s lives. In this panel, Kirsten Kainz will provide a brief review of recommendations for social science measurement from the National Research Council (2011) and reposition those recommendations within a systems science worldview for the purpose of proposing anti-racist measurement practices. Underlying the presentation will be the assumption that not all system science is anti-racist, but anti-racist science will require systemic framings. A set of critical questions to guide anti-racist measurement practice will be discussed. Melissa Villodas, LMSW, will present on a study that used exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to investigate the empirical and theoretical meaningfulness of the modified Neighborhood Cohesion Index within a population of African American youth living in public housing. Michael Lambert will present on the theoretical and empirical methods of item response theory (IRT), which can permit antiracist measurement across different socioethnic groups.

Speakers: Kirsten Kainz, Ph.D., Melissa Villodas, LCSW; Michael Lambert, Ph.D. 

Moderator: David Ansong, Ph.D.



Feb. 24, 2022: Coping Amidst COVID as BIPOC

Although we have learned of the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on BIPOC, we have yet to understand the full extent of the impacts as investigators provide evidence. Rachel Goode will present on the effects of COVID on the specific impact of the pandemic on Black women reporting disordered eating behaviors. This innovative study focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the eating behaviors of Black women. Anjalee Sharma will present on a study that assesses stress, coping, and anxiety among essential workers of color during COVID-19. Specific mechanisms of coping assessed will include binge eating and substance use. Other factors assessed will explore anxiety levels and perceived stress during the pandemic. Sharon Parker will present a qualitative analysis on the impact of COVID-19 and the intimate partner relationships of Black women attending a Historically Black College and University and predominately White University in the Southern United States.

Speakers: Anjalee Sharma, MSW; Sharon Parker, Ph.D.; Rachel Goode, Ph.D. 

Moderator & Discussant: Rainier Masa, Ph.D.