Watch: Speaker Series with Charles Lea


Past Event

Watch: Speaker Series with Charles Lea

February 12, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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Watch the Speaker Series with Charles Lea
Charles Lea

About the Talk

Addressing Mass Incarceration and Its Disproportionate Impact on Black Individuals and Communities Through HEALing-Centered Qualitative Inquiry

This talk discusses the transformative potential of a research praxis that integrates healing, empowerment, abolitionist, and liberatory (HEAL) theories and methodologies to interrogate the racialized mechanisms that legitimize and uphold the system of mass incarceration and inform the development and implementation of policies, programs, and practices that promote individual and collective health and well-being. Drawing from examples of qualitative inquiry that center on Black storytelling, this session demonstrates how a research praxis rooted in HEALing can contribute to a deeper understanding of the experiences and outcomes of Black individuals and communities affected by the criminal legal system and produce knowledge that informs more effective, culturally congruent, and non-punitive models to community safety.

About the Speaker

Dr. Charles H. Lea III is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Columbia University and a Faculty Affiliate of the Columbia Population Research Center. He uses qualitative, mixed, art, and community-based and youth participatory research methods to investigate structural and cultural determinants of health and well-being among Black youth and young adults at risk and involved with the juvenile/criminal legal system. His program of research focuses on (1) anti-Black racism as a driver of racial inequities in educational, health (mental, substance use, HIV/STI), and carceral outcomes; (2) cultural predictors of educational and health equity; and (3) the implementation of multilevel, culturally grounded health prevention and treatment interventions. Through this work, Dr. Lea aims to develop knowledge and build theories that inform racially just and liberatory policies, programs, and practices that promote healing and healthy development among Black youth and young adults, especially young men, and lessen their risk for health-compromising behaviors, arrest, incarceration, and recidivism.

Dr. Lea’s research is informed by his practice experience with racial/ethnic minoritized young people in community, educational, and correctional settings; prior research on reentry, school reform, and workforce and youth development policies, programs, and practices; and training in qualitative methodology and participatory action research. His research is also informed by his NIH T32 fellowship with the Indigenous, Substance Abuse, Medicines and Additions Research Training Program (I-SMAR), NIH T32 fellowship with the HIV/AIDS, Substance Use, and Trauma Training Program (HA-STTP), and NIH R25 fellowship with the Helping Everyone Achieve LifeTime Health Future Addiction Scientist Training Program (HEALTH-FAST).

Before joining the School of Social Work in 2022, Dr. Lea was an assistant professor of social work at the University of Washington and the University of Houston. He received his PhD in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles; MSW from the University of Michigan; and bachelor’s in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

This series is supported by funding from the Institute of Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) at Columbia University.