Good Afternoon Chair Burden and Fellow Planning Commissioners. As a Professor and current faculty member at the New York University Silver School of Social Work, I would like to offer my perspective with regard to the current NYU expansion plan into Greenwich Village. My program of research is grounded in community-based practices and I currently co-direct the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) based at NYU. CLAFH is a not-for-profit research center dedicated to addressing the needs of New York City’s diverse Latino communities. Specifically, the overall aim of CLAFH is to develop, design, and implement evidence-based family interventions designed to promote healthy Latino adolescent development and well-being, examine issues of immigration related to the experiences of Latino families, and promote the economic well-being of the Latino community. However, CLAFH is one such entity that has been challenged in securing adequate space to effectively implement our proposed research program. I believe there is an urgent need for NYU to dedicate additional space to research addressing existing health and social welfare disparities in disadvantaged New York City communities. By increasing space dedicated for research activities, researchers such as myself will not only be better able to address existing inequities at home in our own NYC community but also help further position the University within a context of global research and educational prominence.
While I write to express my support for the NYU 2031 expansion plan, I would also like to note that it is critical that the University remain cognizant of the broader NYC community as the expansion unfolds. For example, issues related to building siting and size are cause for legitimate discussion and collaboration. However, I believe that in working with the NYC community to identify the most suitable options for increasing space, NYU can support programs seeking to better service our community. By bridging strong alliances both inside of and outside of the NYU community we can continue to be the University of and within the city of New York.
Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Ph.D., LCSW
Professor and Co-Director, CLAFH
Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health
Director, Ph.D. Program