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Vulnerable Populations


Vulnerable Populations: Racial and ethnic minorities, economic status, geographic location, immigrants/ migrants, the homeless, the uninsured, the elderly, effective communication, and preparedness access to quality education, educational readiness and disparities.


2-4 June 2020 Workshop
The 2-4 June 2020 workshop objectives were to define the related issue(s) for each component in order to provide synopsis of issue(s) and potential impact to Texas, identify known standards, gaps, barriers, and define possible solutions/potential funding opportunities. The workshop also defined current TAMU capacity and potential funding targets for development of interdisciplinary proposals.


Identified some key elements of social justice and the intersection between two concurrent epidemics (pandemic & systemic racism for African Americans). Overprinting these epidemics is the environment and natural disasters with repeating effect on vulnerable communities. The discussion resulted in three key themes:

  1. Internal University Issues – “Going to the legislature provides an opportunity for the university to be introspective about its own practices. –We have to fix ourselves before we can fix others”.
    1. University units need to value and recognize the importance of community research as research, not Service. Obstacles to conducting and valuing community engaged scholarship should be removed. The university should ensure recognition of this research through the T&P promotion process, retention, funding opportunities and the award process.
    2. Address disconnects between IRB, legal and the challenges of the people we are trying to serve, which has been elevated during COVID, and the faculty doing the work. For example, in the communities being served, access to zoom is not a valid assumption, so we need to think/rethink the guidelines, and “how we do business”.
    3. University funding opportunities (such as T3, X-grants, and or revitalization of PESCA) should be accessible to community-based researchers.
    4. Increase university funding to both subsidized funding for students of color who will engage with faculty long term on these issues and to increase the number of faculty working in these research areas.
    5. Enhance diversity search practices to emphasis the importance of inclusion.
    6. Centralize the different university community engagement elements. Consider establishing a campus centric institute that provides this integration, training and community building.
    7. Balance the proposal effort associated with delivery of the community engagement piece with the level of funding.
    8. Consider evolving the Big event (or other such event) to engage vulnerable communities.
  2. Transdisciplinary research and partnerships
    1. Bring work at main campus and system schools together to establish integrated community engagement, joint student participation and research collaboration throughout Texas. In addition, work with sister schools and support their efforts through research and pedagogy.
    2. Elevate the importance and impact of the research through telling stories of what has been accomplished.
  3. Research funding opportunities
    1. Continue dialogue to explore funding opportunities to advance transdisciplinary social research. One possibility is to build a network that brings together Faculty from main campus and system schools and community stakeholders to provide foundation for long-term work.

The team agreed to continue to meet to advance the three elements identified above and to engage the appropriate university entities as appropriate to resolve identified issues.


2-4 June 2020 Workshop

  • Focused on Social Justice within and external to the university, state and nation, identifying issues and possible solutions
  • Identified the need for strengthening community engagement and partnering with our TAMU sister universities.
  • Developed concept paper concerning affordable housing, Development of an NSF RCN is in progress.