Community Engagement

Community Engagement

We are Washington University in St. Louis, for St. Louis and with St. Louis.

Our touchpoints with the community are numerous. We have more than 300 affiliations with organizations that help us train our social work and public health students in the field. Annually more than 200,000 hours of student time helps drive positive change in the area.

The School focuses on developing and maintaining administrative partnerships that focus on geographic areas of the most critical need: North City, South City, North County and East St. Louis. These mutually beneficial collaborations help us advance our academic mission and produce significant impact to St. Louis through social and economic justice.

Our Administrative Partners

FamilyForward: The Brown School has partnered with FamilyForward (previously Family Resource Center) for more than 40 years. Located throughout St. Louis City and County, FamilyForward provides children from abusive environments an opportunity for a better life through therapy, education, foster care and adoption, trauma assessment and more. Annually, the organization assists more than 9,000 children and family members. Through collaboration with Brown School faculty, students and graduates, FamilyForward is working to establish a model for the elimination of chronic child abuse.

Better Family Life: Located in St. Louis’ North City, Better Family Life (BFL) offers holistic solutions to issues that commonly threaten the family unit. They provide life-enhancing employment training and placement; education; housing and asset development; community outreach; and youth, family and clinical services. The Brown School has commissioned space at BFL to be used for meetings, classes and workshops, which provides students, faculty and staff with valuable insights into the needs of the area community. Our Evaluation Center has also been working with BFL to facilitate the development of departmental evaluations and logic models to ensure services are as impactful as possible.

To learn more about our administrative partnerships, contact:

Cynthia Williams
Assistant Dean of Community Partnerships
(314) 935-8348

Key Community Initiatives

Our research centers and faculty are also deeply committed to the region. Some of the community-based initiatives currently in progress include:

Health Equity Works

Health Equity Works is committed to St. Louis and to translating data and research into collaborative community action to advance health equity. Formerly known as For the Sake of All, Health Equity Works is led by Associate Professor Jason Purnell, its 2014 report, For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis—And Why It Matters for Everyone, revealed deep health disparities that exist in our region, and highlighted factors that drive differences in outcomes. Their work continues to engage the region in the implementation of evidence-based recommendations on school health, quality neighborhoods, economic opportunity, early childhood support, mental health and chronic disease. Learn more about Health Equity Works.

HomeGrown STL

HomeGrown STL, a project of the Center for Social Development’s Race and Opportunity Lab, focuses on building regional capacity to foster the positive development of young Black males in our community. The death of Michael Brown highlighted immense concerns regarding Black boys and young men in St. Louis, and responses yielded investments to programs. Lacking, however, was the data needed to guide strategic planning and evaluation. HomeGrown STL brings together key partners, under the leadership of Professor Sean Joe, to provide the infrastructure to better inform services and policies—and improve outcomes. Learn more about HomeGrown STL.

The Center for Human Service Leadership (CHSL) was developed to support the capacity and leadership of nonprofit tenants at Delmar DivINe, a new real estate initiative in North St. Louis City dedicated to community development, social improvement and collaboration in St. Louis and the nation. Directed by Professor of Practice Barry Rosenberg, CHSL will use a racial equity lens to contribute to the long-term development of social service organizations, assisting in organizational governance, data-driven strategic thinking, innovation, talent development and collaboration.

Read news about additional community projects or programming.