MPH candidate and Health Equity Scholar Michael Thompson recently received an inaugural Royce Graduate Student Research Award from Brown’s Swearer Center. This prestigious award, modeled after the Royce Fellowship for undergraduates at Brown and established through the generosity of Charles Royce ’61, funds community-centered research projects by Brown University graduate students.
The Swearer Center, which emphasizes community engagement as a formative part of a Brown education, offers Royce awards in an effort to advance independent, engaged research by doctoral and masters students at Brown.
With his research focused on the relationship between mass incarceration and mental health, Michael will use the Royce Award support to develop customized digital tools to address the needs of individuals and families affected by incarceration.
Michael’s project, “From Incarceration to Recovery: Empowering Mental Wellness Using Smartphone Technology,” is grounded in stark findings: 43% of people in state prisons have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, while 74% report not receiving any mental health care while incarcerated. The hurdles of reintegration into society—such as securing employment and housing, as well as contending with social stigma—exacerbate mental health challenges.