About

Dr. Elena Quintana, Executive Director of the IPSSJ

Meeting public safety challenges
with socially just solutions.

Centers and Institutes: Our Commitment to Social Change

Adler University pursues social change through service to communities, especially to disenfranchised and marginalized populations, and through the Centers and Institutes.

The University differs from traditional education to prepare practitioners imbued with social responsibility, and we build new models for engaging communities in social change. We do this by addressing the wider systemic and structural issues that underlie poor health and that make traditional service necessary in the first place. We have innovated our education and training to prepare practitioners as highly skilled advocates.

The Centers and Institutes support students, faculty, and community partners to transcend established approaches to wellness. We train socially responsible practitioners for this work in multiple disciplines—in academic programs that go beyond traditional practice.

Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice

The purpose of the Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) is to meet public safety challenges with socially just solutions. We work with community groups, peer institutions, and systems partners to address public safety challenges. By forging creative collaborations, we can devise empirically sound methods beyond mere suppression to create environments where a more lasting and meaningful sense of peace and wellness can prevail. We believe that by working together, bringing all concerned into the mix, we can improve urban safety outcomes by enhancing human potential and community wellness.

Rather than rely completely on safety strategies that isolate and confine, we strive to develop transformative alternatives that restore people, families, and neighborhoods to their optimal functionality. By mobilizing the wisdom and assets of stakeholders at all levels, IPSSJ seeks to shift the tide in public safety thinking and to create momentum for 21st century solutions that strengthen communities, protect families, and bring people closer together. We aim to create communities where all people can reach their full potential.

Every time we remove someone from society there are serious long-term consequences. While this is often a necessary step in protecting family and/or community members, our society has become far too reliant on strategies of confinement. We must rediscover our capacity for lifting up all members of our society, no matter their needs, challenges, or personal traumas. By focusing on peoples’ potential – rather than just their negative behaviors – we can begin to build stronger and safer neighborhoods. We believe that real safety is the result of vibrant communities and systems that promote self-reliance, interdependence, and accountability.