Jean Schensul, PhD

Senior Scientist and Founding Director, Institute for Community Research (Affiliate)

Visiting Professor of Education and Methods, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California-Los Angeles

Research Overview

As a medical/educational anthropologist, my work on structural interventions has concentrated on the development of new organizations, community research partnerships and community/university associations dedicated to community-based research addressing disparities in the U.S., Peru, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and India. From 1978-1987 I helped to create research and training infrastructure at the Hispanic Health Council, a Latino oriented community based research, training and advocacy organization in Hartford. Since 1987 I have acted as founding director (1987 – 2004) and senior scientist (2005 to present) at the Institute for Community Research, a locally based international research institute dedicated to research to address social, educational and health disparities in the U.S. and elsewhere. In addition, I have implemented a series of multilevel interventions addressing issues ranging from HIV and substance use prevention to the acceptance of influenza vaccine among older adults in the U.S. A concern with democratizing/decolonializing research methods has resulted in the development of approaches to training and intervention research that are used to instruct youth and adults to conduct their own social science research for social change, utilizing a variety of qualitative and survey methods, supported with federal NIH and SAMHSA, state and foundation funding. The Ethnographer’s Toolkit, a seven book methods compendium for qualitative research initiates (Altamira Press, 1999, second edition in preparation), and a comparable youth research curriculum are the foundation for this work. My other substantive work, supported by NIMH, NIDA, NIA, and the Donaghue Medical Research foundation, addresses health and service access disparities in the areas of chronic diseases, mental health, substance use and sexual risk in urban multiethnic multicultural youth, adults and older adult communities. The development and evaluation of community-based multilevel interventions and conceptualizing community based participatory research in the context of dynamic systems change theories is a special feature of my work at the Institute for Community Research.


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1974 (cultural anthropology)
M.A., University of Minnesota, 1967 (anthropology and linguistics)
B.A., University of Manitoba, Canada, 1963 (anthropology)

Recent Publications

Contact Information
Phone860.278.2044 x227
Mailing AddressThe Institute for Community Research
Two Hartford Square West, Suite 100
146 Wyllys St
Hartford, CT 06106