Roundtable: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Latino Communities: Two Case Studies
(Social Equity and Race)

Thursday, November 8, 2018: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
8209 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Speakers:  Antonieta Castro-Cosio1, M. Victoria Quiroz-Becerra1, John Martinez1, Marcus Berkowitz2 and Brayan Rosa Rodríguez3, (1)MDRC(2)Grameen America(3)El Instituto del Desarollo de la Juventud

Developing evidence to inform important research questions is a central goal in policy research, but the application of research learnings to program improvement and policy development is also often an aspiration. Active researcher-practitioner partnerships are opportunities to ensure that research is informed by the needs and interests of practice and that the learnings generated by research can affect policy and practice in tangible and direct ways. This mutually informed approach is particularly important when the research takes place in culturally diverse communities, where cultural context is central to the conduct and interpretation of research. This session will present two case studies of such partnerships taking place within Latino communities. Though the researchers on the panel will provide a high-level overview of the research approach and relevant findings, the bulk of this interactive discussion will be led by the practitioners, who will share how the research findings are informing the work of their respective organizations. Issues related to cultural competence will also be addressed.

First, Toni Castro-Cosio and Victoria Quiroz-Becerra of MDRC and Marcus Berkowitz, Senior Director of Technology and Innovation at Grameen America, Inc will discuss a partnership to conduct an evaluation of the Grameen America program, which provides microloans to low-income women entrepreneurs, based on the Grameen Bank model developed in Bangladesh in the mid-1970s. The study is focused on a branch servicing Union City, NJ a predominantly Latino community. Toni, Victoria, and Marcus will reflect on the last five years of this partnership and how the information generated by the research has informed Grameen’s approach to working with their clients. Next, John Martinez of MDRC and Brayan Rosas, Policy Director at El Instituto del Desarollo de la Juventud in Puerto Rico will discuss a partnership that is working to help El Instituto develop and present evidence informed recommendations to the Puerto Rico and US Governments on how to increase low-income youth employment on the island, especially in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Brayan will describe some of the recommendations being made and how having a research partner has bolstered El Instituto’s ability to make a compelling case in support of their policy and practice recommendations.

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