Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies

The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES) is dedicated to improving the mental, physical and spiritual health and quality of life of women, their families and communities of color, particularly among marginalized populations using community-driven research, programs, training and advocacy.

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Founded in 1993, the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES) is a national, not-for-profit public health organization domiciled in New Orleans, LA. IWES is dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health and quality of life for women, their families, and communities of color, particularly among populations impacted by structural inequities, using translational research, community-centric programs, training and advocacy.

IWES works in the following issue areas:
1) Resilience- This focus area concentrates on community-level, non-clinical approaches to equitable recovery, healing and resilience of vulnerable populations through community-wide wellness events, documenting stories of struggle and survival, collaborations to develop trauma-informed approaches and community-driven, participatory research. IWES helps to build emotional and physical well-being, resilience and capacity, using a Social Ecological Model (SEM) as its theoretical framework, which recognizes that individual behavior is shaped by multiple levels of influence including interpersonal, community and societal context.

2) Emotional/Physical Well-being- To further the organization's mission, IWES engages community members in activities and events focused on addressing their emotional well-being, overall physical and psychological health. IWES uses the SEM, and in-depth, multi-dimensional approach, to create culturally proficient programs, activities and research to address and advocate for women of color, their families and communities to heal and create sustainable change.

3) Positive Youth Development and Adolescent Health - Through this area of focus, IWES provides opportunities for youth to develop and enhance leadership, advocacy, technical and job training skills, through trauma-informed approaches. Additionally, IWES provides community members, in particular youth and young adults, with comprehensive health education, prevention and risk reduction education and services, advocacy and outreach using social media, peer and community engagement.