RAND recognizes that serving the public good requires tackling the factors that contribute to inequities head-on. Current projects focus on such issues as environmental racism, mass incarceration, and anti-Asian violence.
Jul 7, 2021
The RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy aims to develop and apply approaches and solutions that build racial equity in systems and policies for the future.
The center was funded by an initial $1 million from donor contributions and RAND’s own resources to support a growing portfolio of innovative, high-impact racial equity research and analysis at RAND, create a clearinghouse to help coordinate related efforts, and collaborate with organizations dedicated to advancing racial equity. Fundraising for the center is a priority in RAND’s Tomorrow Demands Today $400 million campaign.
“The evidence is clear regarding persistent racial inequities in the settings that define our daily lives—the neighborhood, the hospital, the classroom, and the U.S. criminal justice system,” said Michael D. Rich, president and CEO of RAND from 2011 to 2022. “RAND has an obligation to address these problems, but it will not be enough to conduct more research. We will need to convert that research into action.”
The center's work is focused on three key components.
While focused on racial equity, center activities emphasize the intersection of race with other factors such as ethnicity, age, economic status, gender and gender identity, geography, health status and disability, religious background, and sexual orientation.
There are many definitions of equity, but for the purposes of ease, we use the commonly-used definition that equity means the fair and just access to opportunity.
Rhianna C. Rogers, Ph.D. is the inaugural director of the Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy, starting in August 2021. Rogers is an expert on cultural and ethnic studies, intercultural competencies and diversity education, cultural mediation, and virtual exchange programmatic development and implementation. Her approach centers on participatory action research and community engagement processes.
Since joining RAND, Rogers has introduced new research approaches, events, and programming centering on the center’s three pillars: 1) methods and action (e.g., centering racial equity in NIH and Wallace Foundation grant proposals), 2) dialogue and change (e.g., Deep Learning and Deliberative Conversation series), and 3) policy leadership (e.g., Affiliates/Ambassadors program, Fellows program, and Research Associates program).
Prior to RAND, Rogers has held administrative appointments and taught in higher education spaces (2002-present). She was most recently an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies (history and anthropology) and the coordinator of the Global Indigenous Knowledge program at State University of New York (SUNY), Empire State College. At SUNY, Rogers held two systems appointments, one as the Ernest Boyer Presidential Fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and led the Center for Law and Policy Solutions (CLPS) Fellowship program (2019–2020) and the other as a SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence Fellow (2014-2021).
Rogers was also a Stevens Initiative Visiting Professor of Anthropology at the American University of Technology in Kaslik, Lebanon (2017–2018), and served two terms as the SUNY Empire State College Coordinator of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies (2017–2019 and 2014–2017). Rogers developed and co-developed several successful DEI initiatives in her career, including SPEC/Buffalo Project, a grant-funded and award-winning action-based diversity program focused on the development of culturally inclusive programming and upskilling populations to inform solution-making efforts in college and community environments (2010–present).