Center on Race and Social Problems

Faculty Resources

Dara D. Mendez, PhD, MPH | CRSP Pilot Fund Awardee 2019-2020

We are delighted to announce that a pilot proposal titled "Home Visitation and the Effects of Perceived Racism on Adverse Birth Outcomes in Black Families" is the recipient of CRSP pilot project funds for 2019-2020.

Dr. Dara Daneen Mendez with her team including Dr. Tiffany Gary-Webb, Yuae Park, MA, and Ms. Jada Shirriel, MS, CLC, will examine the association between racism and adverse birth outcomes among Healthy Start participants. The study will help determine whether and how the Healthy Start Program, specifically home visitation, moderates the association between racism and birth outcomes, as well as explore participants' and staff's experiences and understanding of how home visitation may mitigate the effects of racism.


Pilot Funding Opportunities
Up to $10,000 in research funds

The Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP) invites full-time faculty and researchers who have a PhD (or similar degree) and are at the University of Pittsburgh to submit pilot study proposals that address current race-related social problems within any of the eight areas of focus of CRSP: health, economic disparities; education disparities; interracial group relations; mental health; families and youth; aged; and criminal justice.  This initiative is expected to support two or three new pilot projects. Since 2002, the center has funded 34 pilot studies.

The projects may cover a wide range of research methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative research, policy analysis and evaluation, and translation of research into practice.  Existing or new data may be used for exploring race-related problems.  Inclusion of minority investigators as PI, Co-PI, or Mentor is encouraged, and to be considered proposals must have race as the central focus.

Submission criteria will be available in Summer 2020.


The execution of a high-quality, multidisciplinary applied research program is at the core of the center’s mission—faculty who work with the center are encouraged to focus on developing real-life solutions to the topics they address. Faculty affiliated with the center are organized into groups based on the above seven areas of focus. Research Advisory Panels (RAPs) bring together faculty members with similar interests to work individually or in groups to develop new research initiatives.

Addressing race-related problems requires a wide range of expertise; the center establishes and maintains relationships with interested faculty from across the university. The center provides these social scientists with both an identity and a location for research and training on racial topics and aids university researchers in the development and external funding of their projects.

Finally, the center strives to become a national resource for race-related social science information for both academics and the general public, and it serves as a collection site for questionnaires, instruments, and relevant research resources.


Return on Investment for Pilot Projects Over a 10 year Period

The Center on Race and Social Problems awarded over $244,516 in pilot grants over a ten-year period from 2004 to 2014, which has resulted in a return on investment of $6.50 for every $1.00 allocated to a pilot grant.

Each year, the Center invites pilot proposals from the University Community. When evaluating the projects, emphasis is placed on the overall value of the project to the Center’s mission, the scientific merit of the research, and the likelihood that the work will lead to scholarly publication and external funding of subsequent studies.

In this way, the Center on Race and Social Problems has leveraged its voice to make race a central focus in research not only at the School of Social Work but throughout the University and the region.

Image and caption for the page
Image of CRSP ROI funding report
ROI Funding Analysis 2004-2014 REPORT