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Morrison Joins ARCC as Associate Director

Twelve years ago, social entrepreneur Sherida Morrison convened the Partnership for a Better Roseland (PBR) with the help of a seed grant from the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC). In her new role as ARCC associate director, Morrison blends decades of nonprofit community organizing with a leadership position that will further enhance the impact of community-engaged research at Northwestern and beyond.

“This feels a bit like coming full circle as I now have the privilege of working alongside Jen Brown, a true champion for community-engaged research and one of ARCC's co-founders,” Morrison says. “I’m also deeply honored to continue the legacy of my dear sister, friend, colleague, and ARCC co-founder, the late Dr. Gini Bishop, who served as PBRs academic partner and principal investigator all those years ago.”

PBR was established as a collaborative of nine organizations conducting research to examine school-based youth violence in the south side community. PBR was convened by Morrison while serving as the CEO at Demoiselle 2 Femme, NFP, a girls-serving organization with a rich history of serving girls in the Chicagoland area for nearly 30 years.


Together, we can cultivate stronger, more equitable community-academic partnerships, driving research that is not only meaningful and ethical but also directly addresses complex societal issues and fosters positive social change.”

A sociologist with a master’s degree in learning and organizational change — earned at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy — Morrison received her undergraduate degree from Southern University, one of 107 historically black colleges and universities in America. Morrison is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the Evanston campus at Northwestern.

Over the past six years, she’s been president and senior consultant at Sapientia Consulting Group, a firm focused on human-centered design. Her team often worked with organizations spanning both the public and private sectors, focusing on areas such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice as well as organizational and leadership development. Morrison has also worked closely with black and brown leaders in Chicago, fostering collaboration and multicultural coalition building as a trainer for the Latino Policy Forum’s Multicultural Leadership Academy.

“I come to ARCC with a deep-rooted commitment to community-engaged research and a passion for driving meaningful change,” says Morrison, a proud native of Chicago, who grew up in the Morgan Park neighborhood on the city’s far south side. “I attribute much of my upbringing and values of diversity, inclusion, and servant leadership to the nurturing influence of my parents and our close-knit faith community. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of serving across the Chicagoland area as a champion and advocate for youth with a specific focus on teen girls.”

Drawing from more than 30 years of professional experience that includes nonprofit management, community organizing, program and curriculum design, evaluation, community-based participatory research, grant writing, coalition building, teaching in higher ed, consulting, and design thinking, Morrison brings a wealth of skills and expertise to her new endeavor.

“Sherida embodies the community voice and shared and collective power in decision-making that is a hallmark of ARCC,” says ARCC Director Jen Brown, MPH. “For years, ARCC has become a better version of itself because of the dynamic contributions of Sherida and others like her and I’m thrilled to officially welcome her to the leadership team.”

In recent years, Morrison has served as the community co-chair of ARCC’s Steering Committee, provided consultancy services through ShARPs, and organized neighborhood tours for Feinberg medical students. 

“I'm enthusiastic about supporting community and faith-based organizations to take the lead in research initiatives that truly reflect the lived experiences and needs of their members,” says Morrison. “Together, we can cultivate stronger, more equitable community-academic partnerships, driving research that is not only meaningful and ethical but also directly addresses complex societal issues and fosters positive social change.”

Launched in 2008 to support authentic community-academic research partnerships between Chicagoland communities and Northwestern University, ARCC was established to benefit the communities being researched and to improve health and equity for all. ARCC advocates for a collaborative approach to research that honors, is driven by, and shares power with communities, as local, cultural, and lived experience experts. As a program of the Center for Community Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, ARCC is part of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine and the NUCATS Institute. 

Written by Roger Anderson

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