Brooke Abrams is a trained political scientist and health equity expert with seven years of experience leading and contributing to equitable and anti-racist research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects. Her work innovates the fields of housing, criminal justice reform, and health equity across BIPOC populations. Abrams has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Casey Family Foundation to advance health and well-being across marginalized populations. Her technical assistance expertise focuses on meaningfully and equitably engaging persons with lived expertise to investigate pervasive inequities in communities’ coordinated entry housing systems. Brooke’s research has advanced prison reform in New Mexico, housing systems transformation in Minneapolis, and Abt’s Racial Equity Standardization.
Abrams currently serves as a supporting technical assistance provider for Hennepin County, implementing systems change frameworks to coordinate housing surge efforts supported by COVID relief CARES Act funds. She works alongside the community and their Continuum of Care (CoC) to develop Hennepin’s first ever, lived expertise advisory group (LEAG). This initiative has led to a county-wide standard to incorporate those most impacted in housing project funding and data decision-making processes.
In addition, Abrams provides extensive equitable evaluation support for HUD’s Coordinated Entry Racial Equity Initiative, which is tasked with addressing racial disparities in a community’s homeless response system. Abrams’ contributions have helped CoCs to deliver culturally relevant housing services and improve housing stability outcomes for BIPOC communities nationwide.
Prior to joining Abt, Abrams’ research advanced criminal justice reform and health equity across New Mexico. In particular, Abrams co-led a study investigating the use of solitary confinement in New Mexico’s prisons for the American Civil Liberties Union. The study’s findings helped inform and ultimately pass the state’s House Bill 364, which limits the instances in which state and county jails use solitary confinement among youth, persons living with mental illness, and pregnant women. In addition, Abrams co-developed an ongoing community intervention employing participatory action research approaches to address crime and accessibility to community resources and supports in New Mexico.
As a research consultant, Abrams worked closely with the University of New Mexico’s Native American Budget and Policy Institute to examine access to well-supported and well-funded early childhood programs and workforce development across tribal communities in New Mexico. Outside of her research career, Brooke has dedicated her time working with TRIO programs to mentor first-generation, low-income students through the academic pipeline.
- Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation
- Housing and homelessness
- Social determinants of health and equity
- Criminal justice, prison reform
- Government, political behavior and public opinion
- Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act, Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Coordinated Entry Equity Initiative, Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Transforming Equitable Child and Family Wellbeing Systems, Casey Family Programs
- Healthcare Utilization and Access Among Persons Experiencing Homelessness in Texas, Department of Housing and Urban Development/SNAPS
- Employment Process as Barriers to Employment in Lower-Wage Market project, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Abrams, B., & Block Jr., R. (2020). Black people are in no rush to re-open economy despite financial hits. https://thegrio.com/2020/06/11/black-economy-coronavirus-study/. Cited 38 times.
- Hernandez-Vallant, A., Sanchez, G., Roybal, C., Gomez-Aguinaga, B., Abrams, B., Karye Daniel, D., Vargas, E., Pena, J., & Sayuri Dominguez, M. (2020). Compliant but unprotected: Communities of color take greater action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but remain at risk. https://iaphs.org/compliant-but-unprotected-communities-of-color-take-greater-action-to-prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19-but-remain-at-risk/
- Gomez-Aginaga, B., & Abrams, B. (2019). Solitary Confinement in New Mexico: A review of policies, practices, and inmate experiences in isolation. solitary_confinement_in_new_mexico_2019_report.pdf (aclu-nm.org)