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The Institute for Healing Justice and Equity

A multidisciplinary group of faculty founded the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity at Saint Louis University. This initiative has the potential to transform SLU into the epicenter of equitable community building and knowledge curation related to healing from social injustice, trauma and oppression. 

Our Mission

To eliminate disparities in individual and community health and well-being caused by systemic oppression, through research, training, community engagement, and policy change. 

Operationalizing equity solely as policy change is insufficient. We assert that healing from systemic inequity must occur in tandem with policy change.

We define healing justice as practices, resources, and somatics that fosters healing from oppression.

We define equity as a state of being where race, gender, class, and other social identity categories can no longer predict life outcomes and outcomes for all groups are improved.

The Institute is committed to being honest that the academy does not have the answer, but that the research skills of the academy in collaboration with the indigenous knowledge of community can generate viable answers. The Center will utilize academic research, community practice, academic and public sector writing, teaching within and outside of the academy, community activism, and policy development to curate, create, solidify, and disseminate frameworks and practices for healing justice and equity.

Download a Concept Map for the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity

About the Institute's Areas of Work

Equity in Policy
The institute conducts research and provides training that leads to transformative change in policy and equity. The institute seeks to support governmental agencies and officials, community based organizations, nonprofit organizations, corporations, academic institutions, and community members in developing and implementing laws and policies that make society more equitable.
Healing Justice

The institute curates and disseminates organizational resources, community knowledge, and academic research that contribute to healing from injustice and racial inequity. Healing Justice refers to the process of creating pathways to being whole and in relationship with self and others while acknowledging harm from interpersonal, institutional and structural oppression.

Community Research Ethics
The institute is dedicated to curating a set of basic principles for all organizations to abide by when focusing on communities, including, but not limited to, compensation, dedication to healing, accountability, community member input, radical inclusion, ethical debriefing practices, and increasing the ratio of explicit benefits and potential harm. Institutional Review Boards (IRB) affiliated with universities don’t always have the language or expertise to review qualitative, community-based research. In addition, private organizations are not held under the scrutiny of an IRB equivalent for their community-based research. The lack of review results in unethical community-research practices that all too often leave researchers unaccountable and communities without resources despite harvesting their intellectual property.

Institute for Healing Justice and Equity Founders 

Kira Hudson Banks, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences

View Kira Hudson Banks' Full Profile 
Keon L. Gilbert, DrPH
Associate Professor, Behavioral Science and Health Education
College for Public Health and Social Justice
View Keon L. Gilbert's Full Profile 
Amber Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor, Communication
College of Arts and Sciences

View Amber Johnson's Full Profile
Ruqaiijah Yearby, J.D., M.P.H.
Professor, School of Law

View Ruqaiijah Yearby's Full Profile