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 for Social Change.
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.
The LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center (LGBTQ Center) was created in 2011 to educate and train students, faculty and staff on culturally competent practice with sexual and gender minorities. The Center also provides access to resources and training for practitioners on best practices in LGBTQ inclusion and treatment; and policy recommendations for local, state and provincial leaders based on significant experience and work with organizations serving underserved and underrepresented sexual and gender minorities.
We serve as the primary resource for Adler University campuses and metropolitan communities for culturally competent and evidence-based scholarship and practice about gender and sexual minorities. We created and maintain an internal database used by faculty and students documenting inclusive best practices with LGBTQ people. Additionally, the LGBTQ Center host seminars, workshops, and continuing education programming for our community partners and other practitioners seeking to improve their inclusion practices and service delivery to sexual and gender minorities.
Our approach to the advancement of social justice for gender and sexual minorities is predicated on belief that any community with which we partner is an experts of its lived experience. Therefore, we enter into partnerships as co-agents of social change through a community-centered and informed approach.
One of the Center’s most significant services is the Chicagoland LGBTQ Services Directory (Directory). Through engagement with various LGBTQ groups, practitioners, and advocates, we collectively identified the clear need for an accessible, economically just, inclusive, and non-partisan centralized database of LGBTQ-dedicated resources. This led our LGBTQ Center to invest more than a year leading research, design, development, data entry and launch of the Directory in March 2014. The Directory now lists more than 350 LGBTQ-dedicated services.
Through our scholarship endeavors, we identify and target the structural and systemic causes of exclusion. Our focus is strengthening inclusion of gender and sexual minorities through advocacy for inclusive public and healthcare policy, legislation, and government decisions.