A CU System investment of $1.12M will help advance the center’s critical work in educational equity and environmental justice as the university continues to address issues important to Denver’s Hispanic and Latino communities.
CU Denver has announced that it is refocusing and strengthening the Latino Research & Policy Center (LRPC) in the areas of educational equity and environmental justice in line with its 2030 Strategic Plan, using its equity focus and research strength to serve the needs of Denver’s Hispanic and Latino community in these key areas, both internally and externally. To advance this work, the CU System has made a $1.12 million investment over four years, also enabling the appointment of Education Professor Carlos Hipolito-Delgado PhD, as interim executive director of the center on the CU Denver campus.
“The Latino Research & Policy Center is a showcase of the University of Colorado Denver’s collective strengths in research, public affairs, and community engagement,” said CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks, PhD. “I am grateful to the CU System and our University of Colorado leadership for recognizing the power and importance of this research and how these issues impact the community. I’m also excited that, as a public urban research university that proudly serves the growing community of Hispanic and Latino students, we can delve more deeply into areas of education, environment, and community engagement.”
Hipolito-Delgado, who has been with CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development for more than 15 years, brings a wealth of experience in community-based research and policy work to this role.
“Engaging undergraduates in culturally relevant research on educational equity and environmental justice promotes lifelong learning and meaningful progress towards Latinx empowerment and equity,” Hipolito-Delgado said. “By promoting cultural celebration, sociopolitical development of Latinx youth, and action research that addresses community needs, we can cultivate the next generation of leaders who can make a positive impact.”
Hipolito-Delgado said one of his primary goals is to foster partnerships with community-based organizations to ensure research conducted at the center in the areas of education and environmental justice translates into impactful recommendations and he will ultimately hire a community engagement team with the aim of beginning new work this year. Consistent with its broader mission, the center also will work to:
- advance Latino community-informed interdisciplinary research to inform policy decisions enhancing engaging with the Latinx community in Denver
- retain students in college
- share research-backed practices that can encourage Latinx students to pursue faculty and research careers
One of the biggest champions of the center is CU Regent Nolbert Chavez, who is also an alumnus of CU Denver and its chief of external initiatives. “The LRPC has a rich history of success in receiving research grants. With the appointment of Carlos Hipolito-Delgado as interim executive director and his commitment to research, the LRPC is poised to continue this important work, acknowledge the history and legacy of CU Denver’s Aurarian heritage, and make a meaningful impact on the lives of Hispanic community members in Denver and beyond.”
The university will launch a national search for a permanent LRPC executive director. The LRPC was founded in 1997 to develop a better understanding of the needs of the Latino community through research, which would lead to policy recommendations and changes to improve the quality of life for Latinx communities. Much of its work until now has focused on Latinx health disparities research led primarily by four research investigators, Drs. Evelinn Borrayo, Lisa DeCamp, Claudia Amura and Patricia Valverde at the Colorado School of Public Health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. LRPC also conducts extensive community engagement with Latino-serving organizations across Colorado under the direction of Community Projects Coordinator Claudia Patricia Galetto. LRPC houses the graduate-level Latino Health Certificate, which prepares graduate public health students in engaging in Latinx health disparities, research, and public health practice. Moving forward, this important work will continue in parallel to CU Denver’s efforts.
“We are excited about the broadening of LRPC’s focus to address important educational issues and enhance our current environmental justice work among the Colorado Latinx community,” said Patricia Valverde, PhD, MPH, the Interim director of LRPC since 2021. “This is an important investment and demonstration of CU’s commitment to improving the well-being of our Latinx communities.”
About the University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver is the state’s premier public urban research university and equity-serving institution. Globally connected and locally invested, CU Denver partners with future-focused learners and communities to design accessible, relevant, transformative educational experiences for every stage of life and career. Across seven schools and colleges in the heart of downtown Denver, our leading faculty inspires and works alongside students to solve complex challenges through boundary-breaking innovation and impactful research, and creative work. As part of the state’s largest university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with 2,000 employees and an annual economic impact of $800 million. For more information, visit ucdenver.edu.