Community Equity, Innovation, and Resource Lab

Community Equity Lab

Established in 2018 to address the urgent housing, economic development, and health needs of impoverished and politically disenfranchised communities of color, 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. Collaboratively launched with frontline institutions (civic associations, faith-based groups, tenant and homeowner organizations) in co-investigative partnerships centered on issues of displacement, environmental justice, fair and affordable housing, health disparities, and segregation, Lab initiatives seek to: (1) ensure equal access to, and the fair distribution of, public goods and services; (2) increase civic participation and democratic inclusion; and (3) strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of existing community-based organizations.

Lab Projects

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

Health Disparities 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 Disparities Project addresses community-centered health law and policy research, advocacy, and reform in South Florida. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Health Disparities Project received both a grant from the University of Miami Laboratory for Integrative Knowledge (U-LINK) and an Association of American Medical Colleges Next Award for its foundational research titled “COVID-19: Evaluating Fault Lines in the Health of Our Communities and Developing Community-Centered Solutions.” Click here to learn more.

Housing and Community Economic Development Project

Created in 1999 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 civic associations, Black churches, 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.

Community Equity Lab 2022 Fellows

Housing and Community Economic Development Project (HCEDP)

Open All Tabs
  • Benjamin Brooks, David P. Catsman Fellow, 3L

    Ben BrooksBenjamin Brooks is a 3L student from North Carolina. For the past two years, Brooks served as a David P. Catsman Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics and public Service on the Housing and Community Economic Development Project. This past summer, he interned at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Brooks is also a member of the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board and is the Vice President of the Immigration Students Law Association. As a fellow, his involvement has included building and sustaining community coalitions and relationships, and researching community-based civil rights, fair housing, and voting rights problems.

  • Courtney Giebel, David P. Catsman Fellow, 3L

    Courtney Giebel is a third year law student at the University of Miami School of Law. Before attending law school, she graduated from Northwestern University in 2018 with a BA in Spanish and International Studies and worked for two years in Schaumburg, Illinois as an immigration paralegal. After Courtney completed her first year of law school, she attended the Marine Corps' Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia and commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer. Upon returning to school, Courtney began working as a David P. Catsman Fellow at Miami Law's Center for Ethics and Public Service in the Housing and Community Economic Development Project. In addition to her work with CEPS, she works as a Dean's Fellow for Professor Alfieri's Civil Procedure I class; she is President of the law school's Dean's Cup; and she is the Treasury for the school's Military and National Security Law Society. Upon graduation, Courtney will take the Arizona Bar Exam and return to Virginia for further Marine Corps training.

Health Disparities Project (HDP)

Open All Tabs
  • Jordan Brooks, William M. Hoeveler Fellow, MS3, MD/JD Candidate

    Jordan BrooksAs an African-American who grew up in rural Ohio with two chronically ill parents, my family and I have experienced health inequalities firsthand. I concur with MLK Jr’s sentiment: “[o]f all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.” Throughout my education, I have learned the vast array of systemic environmental, socio-economic, and political factors that serve to perpetuate modern inequalities and injustices globally. I have also witnessed the socioeconomic obstacles various populations face. These experiences and knowledge have given me a passion to serve. My research and work have focused on health disparities and social determinants of health, international human rights law, business and human rights, the criminalization of the poor and those with mental illness, banking law and its intersection with health equity and community economic development, immigration and asylum law, public banking, nutrition and wellness, and medical-legal partnerships. I currently work for the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami Law School on the Health Rights Team. I am excited to join the generation of clinicians, attorneys, and judges who look beyond accepted models of health delivery and justice to improve the world for future generations.

  • Lauren Jones - Hunton Andrews Kurth Fellow, 3L

    Lauren JonesLauren graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a B.A. degree in American Studies. In 2016 she graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School with a Master of Public Health degree. Following graduation, she worked as a Registered Behavioral Technician and Administrative Director for Autism Consulting and Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA. During those years she developed a passion for the intersection of health and law and entered law school as a public health professional. Since entering law school, she has become a member of the Black Law Student Association, Miami Law Women, and Health Law Association. She spent the spring of 2021 interning with the Center for Ethics and Public Service researching and actioning health disparities via community benefit in Miami Dade County. This summer she served as a legal intern and HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Florida Health Justice Project as well as continuing with the Health Disparities Project with the Center for Ethics and Public Service.