Reiko Boyd: Graduate College of Social Work - University of Houston
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Reiko Boyd


Assistant Professor

Room: 419 Social Work Building
Phone: 713-743-0331

Current Curriculum Vitae

Personal Statement

As a children’s social worker in the largest child welfare agency in the nation, I learned quickly of the main impetus for change in the enormous bureaucracy that was notoriously characterized as a classic “broken system:” Tragedy. The serious injury ordeath of a child in foster care, and the media coverage that followed was a sure means of sending a shockwave through the agency of measures that were reactive and tangible. Knowing this process, I felt the sting of shame personally. I remained confident in my efforts as an individual caseworker, yet I knew that the problems we dealt with day in and day out were multi-layered, intergenerational, systemic, and complex. While making home visits, I became a direct witness to the pronounced inequality embedded across neighborhoods and communities of color. These problems weren’t deemed newsworthy, but they sent me reeling and made me ready to pursue change intentionally and dynamically. As such, my practice experience in public child welfare spurred my transition from practitioner to researcher, providing a solid base for my research interests.

My work is organized around three areas of inquiry: racial/ethnic disparities in children’s services systems, structural inequality and opportunity in African American communities, and infant/adolescent health and wellbeing. I have strong commitment to conducting research that addresses racial disparities in child welfare outcomes, yet I realize that the patterns of disparity that frequently manifest in the child welfare system represent a piece in a larger puzzle. Therefore, my broader research agenda focuses onthe connection between disparities across service systems and community contexts. I am particularly interested in advancing research that examines how structural inequality at the community level shapes the opportunity structure in place for children of color.

Currently my work is focused on better understanding racially disparate outcomes that occur in the child welfare system and on measures of health among very young children. I explore the intersection of these problems by examining the relationship between birth outcomes and foster care entry for Black infants using a place-based approach. My research aims to move beyond the traditional focus on individual level correlates of maltreatment risk to examine how place matters for children’s health and wellbeing. My goal is to contribute to a rich interdisciplinary knowledge base that can be tapped to develop effective evidence-based interventions that promote equity and opportunity in communities of color.


PhD, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley 2015
MSW, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles 2006

Courses Taught

  • SOCW 7325 Assessment in Social Work
  • SOCW 6202 Social Work Practice

Research Interests

  • Racial/ethnic disparities in children's service systems
  • Structural inequality and opportunity in African American communities
  • Infant/adolescent health and well-being
  • Youth emancipating from foster care
  • Social determinants of health