• Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs (WRI) addresses public policy issues impacting Southern New Jersey through applied research, community engagement and organizational development.
    • WRI serves as a research and public service center for Rutgers University-Camden. The Institute is located at 411 Cooper Street.
    • It was founded in 2000 under the leadership of Dr. Richard Harris to honor Senator Rand’s legacy of public service to southern New Jersey and to his home town of Camden.
    • WRI focuses on three areas: Community and Organizational Development, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and Population Health and Wellness. Projects have included juvenile delinquency prevention coalitions and community programs, evaluations of prisoner re-entry and substance abuse programs, community health needs assessments, smart regional growth and economic development studies, evaluations of strengthening families initiatives and youth success programs, and providing community access to data to facilitate evidence-based decisions.
    • WRI’s work connects stakeholders—elected officials, state, county and municipal agencies, chambers of commerce, hospitals, small businesses, schools, nonprofits, faith-based and community organizations—with the information and research they need to address the challenges and gaps in policy that shape the lives of citizens in southern New Jersey and beyond.
    • WRI also connects Rutgers students with exciting opportunities to enhance their education with invaluable experience in the real world of public affairs, employing roughly a dozen students each semester.
    • In 2018 alone, WRI facilitated 19 projects ranging from community health needs assessments in five counties, to federally funded gang and gun violence prevention efforts, to community development planning, to direct service provider evaluations, to funding interdisciplinary population health research, and much more.
    • In an effort to encourage and support more original research about southern New Jersey, WRI initiated an Endowed Graduate Fellowship for South Jersey Initiatives in 2018. The current recipient, Nathaniel Merrill, a doctoral student in the Computational and Integrative Biology program at Rutgers-Camden is studying how diabetes affects populations in South Jersey and how to alter the course of the disease.


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