Community Equity Lab

Community Equity Lab

Established in 2018 to address the urgent housing and health needs of socioeconomically impoverished and politically disenfranchised communities of color in Florida, the Community Equity Lab integrates anti-poverty and civil rights advocacy and grassroots organizing strategies with university-wide, interdisciplinary resources to advance social justice initiatives at the neighborhood intersection of race and inequality in the areas of education, health, housing, municipal equity, and the natural and built environment. 

Lab Projects

The Lab houses two projects: the Health Equity Project and the Housing and Community Equity Project. 

Health Equity Project

Launched in 2020 in collaboration with the School of Medicine’s MD/MPH Program, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a coalition of community partners, the Health Equity Project engages in community-centered health law and policy research, advocacy, and education. In 2022-2023, Project fellows and interns conducted policy research on the public health effects of housing displacement and neighborhood resegregation, and, moreover, helped shape a panel discussion on the Intersection of Housing, Race & Climate at the Second Annual Black Health Summit, sponsored by the Health Foundation of South Florida and held at Florida Memorial University. Fellows and interns attended the Summit, provided research for Summit panels on Black Maternal Health and Toxic Stress and Healing, served as reporters for all workshops, and were instrumental in the production of the Summit’s Final Report.  

Housing and Community Equity Project

Created in 1999 initially as a joint venture with the School of Architecture’s Center for Urban and Community Design to develop interdisciplinary teaching, research, and neighborhood technical assistance models promoting municipal equity in the built environment, the Housing and Community Economic Development Project has grown into a broader collaboration with a coalition of community partners, including Black churches, civic associations, and tenant and homeowner organizations, seeking to (i) halt the eviction, displacement, and resegregation of vulnerable tenants and homeowners; (ii) negotiate community benefits agreements; (iii) reform segregative land use and zoning policies; and (iv) build and rehabilitate fair, affordable, and integrated housing. In 2022-2023, Project fellows and interns engaged in doctrinal and legislative research, information-gathering, and relationship-building with neighborhood groups to document the racially disparate impact and segregative effect of land use and zoning policies in the City of Miami, seeking to establish the factual and legal foundation for a fair housing investigation and enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Former HCEDP Project:
Racial Justice Grant: Voting Rights in Miami's Historic Coconut Grove Village West

Grant awardees address inequities, promote racial justice 

Community Equity Lab 2022 Fellows

Housing and Community Equity Project (HCEP)

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  • Valerie Caso-Veras, Peter Palermo Fellow, Housing & Community Equity Project

    Valerie Caso-Veras is a second-year law student at the University of Miami, where she is an intern for the Innocence Clinic and a member of OUTLaw. Prior to attending law school, she graduated from Florida International University with a B.A. in Psychology, where she assisted in researching Florida death penalty cases for the Death Penalty Clinic and advocated for immigrant detention divestment in South Florida with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC).

  • Taimaisú Ferrer Sin, Peter Palmero Fellow, Housing & Community Equity Project 

    Taimaisú Ferrer Sin is a second-year law student at the University of Miami. She received her Bachelor of Architecture with a minor in Education from Cornell University in 2022. She is a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar and an NAACP LDF Earl Warren Scholar. In addition to being a member of the Black Law Students Association, Miami Law Women, and the Hispanic Law Students Association on campus, Taimaisú is a member of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association and the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association. During the summer of 2023, Taimaisú served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Legal Services of Greater Miami in the Consumer Unit.

Health Equity Project (HEP)

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  • Jordan Brooks, Steven Chaykin Fellow, Health Equity Project

    Jordan BrooksJordan Brooks, MPH is an MD/JD candidate at the University of Miami, who is currnetly in his fourth year of medical school and third year of law school. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from Kenyon College. He then worked for four years for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurosurgery in the Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center. He graduated with his Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society of Public Health. Currently, Jordan is a Governing Council member and the Legislative Chair for the Florida Medical Association and a Civic Health Fellow for Vot-ER. He is also a Board of Directors member for Buddy Systems MIA. While at the University of Miami, Jordan has been heavily involved in public service work, working with numerous local organizations in Miami, namely: the University of Miami Department of Community Service, the Human Rights Clinic of Miami (at both the medical school and law school), the Ladies Empowerment and Action Program, Catalyst Miami, Legal Services of Greater Miami, and the Florida Health Justice Project.

  • Emma Page, Steven Chaykin Fellow, Health Equity Project

    Lauren JonesEmma Page is a second-year law student from Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2021 with a degree in Public Health and minors in Biology, Spanish, and Health Communication. Prior to law school, she gained experience working on the Covid-19 response at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department in Kentucky. During the summer of 2023, she served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. In her 2L year, Emma will be involved in the Race and Social Justice Law Review and the Environmental Justice Clinic.

  • Niara Ellison Williams, Hunton Andrews Kurth Fellow, Health Equity Project

    Lauren JonesNiara Williams is a second-year law student from Perrysburg, Ohio. In 2018, she received her B.A. in Political Science from Bowling Green State University. Prior to coming to law school, she obtained her Master's in Public Health from the University of Miami and worked as a research analyst in health communications research. Outside of her master's coursework, she participated in several policy and research initiatives related to maternal health. She is currently Vice President the Health Law Association, Advocacy Chair of If/When/How and a member of the Black Law Student Association and First-Generation Law Association. She is pursuing the health law concentration and hopes to specialize in transactional health care work after graduationInput caption text here. Use the block's Settings tab to change the caption position and set other styles.