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00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f7707e000090.5 WESA's Life of Learning series focuses on learning and education activities, opportunities and challenges in the Greater Pittsburgh area.This multi-year commitment to providing learning-focused news coverage in southwestern Pennsylvania is made possible by a generous grant from the Grable Foundation.

Pitt to Host Summit on Race, Ethnicity, Poverty

Researchers and scholars from across the U.S. are gathering in Pittsburgh to create a network devoted to studying the issues of race and poverty.

About 30 directors of academic centers and institutions on race, ethnicity and poverty throughout the country will be attending the summit hosted by the University of Pittsburgh to begin Thursday and Friday in an effort to start dialogue and create possible collaborations between institutions aimed at battling social issues.

Larry Davis, director of Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems and summit organizer, said this is an opportunity for research centers to share resources and ideas.

“It will provide an opportunity for future collaboration,” Davis said. “For example, here in Pittsburgh, if I wanted to do a study on Hispanics, it would be difficult for me to do a study on Hispanic adolescence, but if I make a contact with someone who’s in Arizona who might have access to such a population, perhaps we could collaborate.”

Davis said the summit has four goals: to find out who these researchers are, what issues these centers studying, how are they funded and how they can work together in the future.

Davis said there are numerous research centers across the country that work with race, ethnicity and poverty issues, but they all act independently. The summit is a way of getting those researchers together to share ideas and learn from one another.

Davis is optimistic about the potential of this research network.

“What will happen with it? Will it become an organization of some sort? Perhaps, but at least just finding out which organizations are doing what will be a real accomplishment,” Davis said.

Scott Beach of the University of Pittsburgh, Cleopatra Caldwell of the University of Michigan and Thomas LaVeist of Johns Hopkins University will be speaking at the event, which is not open to the public.