Envision a society in which all 
communities benefit from key rights, 
resources, and opportunities.

Envision a society in which all
communities benefit from key rights,
resources, and opportunities.

Institute Projects

The Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE) is an integral part of the Adler University's educational programming. ISE Faculty Fellows, Faculty Affiliates, and students engage in a variety of research, community outreach, and public awareness projects that show a broad audience how laws, public policies, institutional behaviors, and private beliefs cause social exclusion.


Through research, we identify and tackle the structural and systemic causes of exclusion. We have examined uniquely American forms of social exclusion—such as juvenile detention for life. We have identified the legal, political, social and other barriers faced by formerly incarcerated women as they seek to re-enter society. We have analyzed new and revised legislation, public policy and other government decisions—and the impacts they have on vulnerable communities.

ISE research projects have included investigations on immigrant homelessness in Chicago, the displacement of Chicago's public housing residents, and suicides rates in metropolitan Chicago. Another research project indentified and documented indicators of social exclusion such as food insecurity, supermaximum prisons, death by preventable disease, youth confined to life in prison without parole, and the digital divide.


The ISE's public awareness programming has included implementation of the Social Exclusion Simulation, which highlights the barriers that formerly incarcerated women face as they try to re-enter society. Additionally, the ISE hosted a series of speakers that included UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's first Cabinet Minister for Social Exclusion, the Right Honorable Hilary Armstrong, MP; the president of the Sabin Institute, Peter Hotez, whose internationally noted work on Neglected Tropical Diseases illustrates how poverty is a key social determinant of infectious disease; and Dorothy Roberts, professor of law at Northwestern University. The ISE also hosted a summer film series on marginalized populations.


Community outreach projects have included gun violence prevention programming in the Chicago community of Englewood, where youth-involved gun violence has been extraordinarily high. The ISE also played an instrumental role in establishing a relationship with Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, which resulted in new educational programming that will address international women's issues, the needs of survivors of state-sponsored torture, and the survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Special Projects

Mental Health Impact Assessment (MHIA):  A preventative practice, MHIA enables mental health professionals to engage in socially responsible practice by working to ensure that legislative and public policy decision-making promote the mental health of vulnerable communities. Our project goal is to advance the Health Impact Assessment practice. The project begins on 1/1/11 and ends on 6/30/12. To learn more, contact the ISE team.

Social Exclusion Indicators for the United States: An emerging concept in many parts of the world, social exclusion is a way to characterize contemporary forms of social disadvantage. It provides a useful conceptual framework for operationalizing a key theme of Adlerian thought; the importance of social structures and belonging in determining human welfare. Policy and programmatic efforts to address social exclusion require the analyses of indicators that benchmark and track exclusion trends over time. The Institute on Social Exclusion has developed indicators for social exclusion in the United States. We propose a set of indicators in the areas of health, justice, shelter, and technology to track the exclusion of racial and ethnic groups in the United States. While future efforts of this sort must focus on indicators of exclusion as defined by the excluded themselves, we propose that efforts must also consider the structural origins of exclusion.

To learn more about Social Exclusion Indicators, you can reference the published article in the Journal of Individual Psychology: Todman L. C., Taylor J. S., Cochrane K., Arbaugh-Korotko, J., Berger J., Burt, Caponi, Houston, Hahn, & Mandeleew. (2009). Social exclusion indicators for the United States. Journal of Individual Psychology, 65(4), 330–359.

Other ISE projects include working with the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to integrate the concept of social inclusion into mental health care policy, and collaborating with the AIDS Foundation in its efforts to address the social determinants of HIV/AIDS, such as poverty.

Students can become involved in the work of the ISE through independent study projects, the Community Service Practicum, work study, and host of volunteer activities. For more information, please contact  the ISE.

We are advocates for social change.

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