A Message from Our Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am delighted to have the privilege to lead the George Washington University Institute for Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Equity. The Equity Institute will be a wonderful opportunity to raise the visibility and impact of the work I have been dedicated to for my entire professional career. I am proud to join the community of like-minded students, scholars, and leaders dedicated to eradicating the devastating effects of inequity world-wide.

Across the globe, disparity and disadvantage can be measured almost predictably and reliably by race and place. In the United States these disparities are often depicted in ‘heat maps’ that illustrate the differences in life expectancy by place. Those with lower life expectancy tend to be areas with higher concentrations of people of color and households with lower income.  Globally, patterns of social and economic disadvantage also follow a gradient of structural and political determinants rooted in colonialism, racism, gender inequality. What we measure today as generational patterns of inequity has evolved from centuries of political subjugation, economic exclusion, and social and racial oppression.

Here at the Equity Institute, we will bring together some of the world’s foremost scholars in law, economic and public policy, public health, medicine, sustainability, and international affairs to produce cross-cutting research that will inform long-term strategies to close persistent and pernicious racial, ethnic and socioeconomic gaps. Whether it be here in Washington, DC or the DRC equity matters to all of us. Only at GW, can we bring together a vibrant community of scholars, policymakers, students, and global citizens to meet this challenge through research, dialogue and action.

As the Inaugural Director of EI, I look forward to building a lasting community here at GW that will foster translational research to create more just and resilient communities across the globe.


Wendy Ellis digital signature

Wendy Ellis
Director, Institute for Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Equity
Assistant Professor, Milken Institute School of Public Health

Director, Center for Community Resilience