Racial Justice Faculty Experts

University at Buffalo experts are available to discuss systemic racism, racial inequality and the fight for racial justice in all sectors of society, including in the context of Black Lives Matter and other activism.

For help reaching an expert on deadline, please contact UB's media relations team at 716-645-6969 or ub-news@buffalo.edu.

UB's racial justice experts by category:

These experts can discuss a variety of contemporary and historical issues relating to race, racism and racial justice.

Foster is a novelist, essayist, journalist and scholar. He is a leading public intellectual on issues of citizenship, culture, multiculturalism, politics, race, ethnicity and immigration in the U.S. and Canada. He is author of books including, “They Call Me George: The Untold Story of the Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada"; “Blackness and Modernity: The Colour of Humanity and the Quest for Freedom”; and “A Place Called Heaven: The Meaning of Being Black in Canada.”  

Grinde can speak to the media about Native American thought, history and activism, including in relation to contemporary issues such as systemic racism, land rights, environmental concerns and inclusive educational curriculum. Grinde’s research and teaching have focused on Haudenosaunee/Iroquois history, U.S. Indian policy since 1871, Native American thought, and environmental history. 

Mt. Pleasant is an expert in Native American and Indigenous studies. She can speak to media about a wide range of issues in these fields. She can also comment on Indigenous inclusion in K-12 and higher education. Mt. Pleasant’s scholarship focuses on Haudenosaunee history during the 18th and 19th centuries. Her broader teaching and research interests include early American history; American Indian social and intellectual histories; settler colonialism, especially as it relates to legal and educational systems; conceptualizations of space, place and land tenure in Indian Country; and public history.

Patterson can comment on the root causes of racial injustice in the United States, and on solutions for creating a more just and equitable society. Her research focuses on social welfare and housing policy, highlighting how residential segregation relegates the poor and minorities to disadvantaged neighborhoods with lower quality schools, services and food, and higher exposure to crime. She can also discuss how racist housing policies have created segregated neighborhoods that are an easy target for police misconduct.

Raechele Pope can discuss issues related to structural racism in society and within institutions, and how organizations can work to dismantle oppressive structures and systems. Pope is a leading scholar in higher education on multicultural competence and multicultural organizational change. Her research focuses on race, racism, equity, access, inclusion and engagement in higher education, and how structural change can create inclusive and equitable campuses. Her prescient article, “A Change is Gonna Come: Embracing Paradigm Shifts to Dismantle Oppressive Structures (2019),” focused on the need for structural change in higher education.

Rhee is a poet, scholar and new media artist with interests in ethnic, cultural, queer and feminist studies. Much of her writing and scholarship has focused on the experiences of Asian Americans. She can speak to news outlets about issues of racism and racial justice impacting these communities, including model minority myths and the ways Asian Americans are perceived in the U.S. Rhee works at the intersection of race, gender and sexuality, and technology, art and popular culture. She is interested in how technology and new media can promote equity, political participation and social justice. 

Taylor can comment broadly on issues of race and racial justice. His research focuses on a historical and contemporary analysis of underdeveloped urban neighborhoods, social isolation, and race and class issues among people of color. He is a UB professor of urban and regional planning, director of the UB Center for Urban Studies, an associate director of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute, and a member of the African American Health Equity Task Force in Buffalo.

Health disparities, COVID-19

Barclay is an expert on the history of disability as it intersects with the history of race, gender, class and sexuality, especially in the era before, during and after the U.S. Civil War. Barclay’s research places African American history into conversation with the “new” disability history, a field that emphasizes disability as a lived human experience embedded in a set of socially constructed ideas that change over time, across cultures and in relation to other categories of identity.

Kim can discuss the role of race and ethnicity in mental health disparities, particularly among immigrant and refugee communities. His research seeks to address the needs of the Asian American community, specifically Southeast Asians. His work includes developing community-based research with Burmese/Karen refugees in Buffalo, and he is interested in the creation of programs that respond to the mental health issues of refugees and their trauma experiences.

Milling can speak to media about medical education during the pandemic. Among other issues, he can discuss cultural competency in medicine, how medical schools can improve cultural competency among students, and efforts to recruit more underrepresented students to pursue medicine. He directs UB’s post-baccalaureate program, funded by the New York State Department of Health and supported by the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. The intensive program is designed to expand the pool of underrepresented, economically and educationally disadvantaged students in medical school.​

Murphy can discuss inequities in health care access, COVID-19's disproportionate impact on people of color in underserved communities, and issues surrounding equitable vaccine distribution. He directs the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute.​

Ochs-Balcom can discuss the need for public health and epidemiological research to include diverse populations. She has a research focus on reducing cancer health disparities. She was the lead researcher on the Jewels in Our Genes study, which identified three locations in African American women's genomes that may contain undiscovered genes that contribute to hereditary breast cancer.

Orom can discuss how COVID-19's disproportionate impact communities of color and people of low socioeconomic status due to decades of inequities that have made people with less education, people living in poverty and racial/ethnic minorities more vulnerable to serious COVID-19 disease. She is an associate director of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute.

Patterson can discuss how residential segregation and economic inequality contributes to health disparities, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes issues tied to unequal access to housing, education, services and food.

Rodriguez uses computational social science methods to address problems in social work, social policy and human services. Among other topics, her interests include questions at the intersection of social media and social justice. This includes social work’s social media response to COVID-19, as well as disinformation that may inhibit vaccine acceptance in Black and brown communities.

Sengupta can discuss the individual, family, community and societal mental health consequences of systemic racism, and disparities in access to mental health care.

Taylor can discuss health disparities and the differential impact that COVID-19 is having on African Americans, the Black community and low-income urban groups, especially people living in poverty. This framework includes issues of unemployment, housing and access to treatment. He is a UB professor of urban and regional planning, director of the UB Center for Urban Studies, an associate director of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute, and a member of the African American Health Equity Task Force in Buffalo.

Weaver can discuss health disparities among Indigenous Peoples, and how inequities in health care access and services have worsened the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Native American populations. Weaver is a social worker, educator and researcher whose work centers on the importance of culture in helping processes, and how social work and other helping professions can be more responsive to culturally diverse people.

Urban development, housing, residential segregation

Economic inequality

Education, schools

Policing, criminal justice system

Democracy, politics


Immigrant, refugee and diaspora experiences

Diversity in the workplace

Media, social media, misinformation

Climate change, environmental justice