An Interdisciplinary Discussion and Strategy Session on Socioeconomic Status

The Public Interest Directorate’s newly-created Office on Socioeconomic Status (OSES) recognizes that much of the advocacy, research, policy, and programmatic work on socioeconomic status is interdisciplinary in nature.

By Keyona King-Tsikata


The Public Interest Directorate’s newly-created Office on Socioeconomic Status (OSES) recognizes that much of the advocacy, research, policy, and programmatic work on socioeconomic status is interdisciplinary in nature.  Consequently, the OSES convened a meeting of local representatives of organizations from various disciplines who are engaged in efforts to address the spectrum of social issues that contribute to socioeconomic inequities and disparities for an interdisciplinary discussion and strategy session on December 11, 2007.  The meeting was held at APA’s Central Office in Washington, DC.

The purpose of the interdisciplinary discussion and strategy session on socioeconomic status was three-fold: 1) to create an environment for interdisciplinary dialogue among organizations and individuals concerned with increasing socioeconomic well-being and reducing socioeconomic disparities; 2) to discuss emerging issues, challenges and facilitators surrounding socioeconomic status; and, 3) to gather information that will help to inform strategies for strengthening research, programming, and advocacy efforts that are tailored, collaborative, and complementary to other efforts.

Representatives from the following organizations participated in the interdisciplinary discussion and strategy session: American Educational and Research Association; American Society for Public Administration; American Public Health Association; Capital Area Social Psychological Association; Center for American Progress; Center for Social Science Research - George Mason University; Council on Social Work Education; Economic Policy Institute; George Mason University – Department of Psychology; Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors; National Center for Cultural Competence - Georgetown University; National Education Association; Pew Charitable Trusts – Economic Mobility Project; SAMHSA - Center on Substance Abuse Prevention; Society for Public Health Education; and Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.


Participants in the session explored the following questions:

  • Are there themes or points of intersection in the work of the participants in the interdisciplinary discussion?  Are there “big picture” questions with which we seem to be grappling in our different disciplines?  Are there big picture needs that all agree should be addressed?

  • As an interdisciplinary group, is there a common vision of SES work that emerges – a vision that might encompass what we are doing, the direction in which we are going, or a common goal?  Is there a big picture view of how the work of those at the table and other key partners complements one another?

  • Is there a common thread in the work that we do or that we need to do, which could serve as a focal point for a possible interdisciplinary coalition on SES?

  • What are the barriers and challenges we face in this work?

  • What are potential next steps to move the discussion forward?

Visit the OSES webpage to read the full meeting report which summarizes the major points of consensus discussed at the meeting. Additional information, reports, and opportunities to participate in Office and Committee on SES activities can also be found on the OSES webpage or telephone our office at 202-216-7601.