Community Learning Event, September 8-9, 2014

Exploring Disproportionality and Disparity in Public Life:What, Why, and How 

Disproportionality is defined as the overrepresentation of a particular group of people in a particular group or system. Disparity is the unequal or inequitable treatment of one group as compared to another.  For example, in Texas more than 4,400 African American children were legally removed by Child Protective Services during the last fiscal year. These children accounted for more than 25% of all children removed, while African American children account for only 12% of all children in our state.

Disproportionality is a complex phenomenon. It exists across many domains in addition to child welfare: education, juvenile and criminal justice, health care, and more. It involves individuals, families, communities and systems. Disproportionality is embedded in the structure of our system-in policies, practices, and relationships. No organization or individual can reverse the effects of disproportionality without the help of many partners.

The Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, established and funded by the State of Texas, exists to intervene in the complex systemic relationships, policies and practice and bring change.

Sheila Sturgis Craig, MA

Director - Texas Health and Human Services Commission Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities and Texas Office of Minority Health

Sheila has 24 years Health and Human Service experience in Louisiana and Texas. Sheila is   Director at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities (the Center) and Texas Office of Minority Health. She began her career in Texas as the Kinship Program Specialist creating the kinship program through policy development and strategic planning. Later Sheila became the State Disproportionality Manager for the Department of Family and Protective Services, Child Protective Services agency, administering Senate Bill 6 of the 79th legislative session which established the reform efforts for addressing disproportionality in Texas Child Welfare through training, policy revision, leadership development, and community collaboration. Sheila, through Senate Bill 758 of the 80th legislature expanded those efforts statewide and saw improved outcomes for all children. Sheila provided leadership to 13 disproportionality specialists in every region and at state office who worked with her to change agency culture and racial equity within systems. Through the development and implementation of the Texas Model for Addressing Disproportionality and Disparities, Texas has become a national leader in reform efforts related to disparate outcomes for children disproportionately impacted by and involved in the child welfare system. In Sheila’s current position Sheila leads the charged, through Senate Bill 501 and Rider 87 of the 81st and 82nd Legislature, she is responsible for developing and implementing expansion initiatives through the Center in the Health and Human Services Commission where efforts are underway to eliminate racial disproportionality and health disparities in all Health and Human Service agencies and including education, juvenile justice, and health for Texas most vulnerable citizens.

Sheila received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana and has been involved with various local, state, and national organizations. She has received numerous honors for her work and dedication to children, families and vulnerable populations.


Monday, September 8

Fellows will be housed in guest rooms at Austin Seminary.

3:30 pm                Action Project Group

6:00 pm                Dinner

7:00 pm                Community Reflection

9:00 pm                Evening Prayer

Tuesday, September 9

Breakfast is available beginning at 7:30 am.

8:45 am                Morning Prayer

9:00 am                Plenary I

Noon                     Lunch

1:00 pm                Silence

1:30 pm                Plenary II

3:00 pm                Group Conversation

4:00 pm                Closing

4:30 pm                Adjourn



Community Learning Event June 2-3, 2014

The Meadows Center with Dr. Andrew Sansom, Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and Research Professor of Geography at Texas State University-San Marcos. Dr. Sansom is one of Texas’ leading conservationists. He is a former executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, executive director of the Texas Nature Conservancy, and founder of The Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas.

Texas State University-San Marcos established The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, formerly the River Systems Institute, as a leadership initiative to coordinate and further university-wide efforts in the field of aquatic resource management. The Meadows Center started out as International Institute for Sustainable Water Resources in January 2002, and was renamed the River Systems Institute in 2005. Following a large gift of $1 Million from the Meadows Foundation in August, 2012, The Meadows Center will continue the mission to develop and promote programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. The Meadows Center aims to promote a holistic approach to the management of natural systems where key principles of sustainability and equitable use guide sound water policy.

Community Learning Event May 5-6, 2014

"Situating Ourselves"

City of Austin Demographer Ryan Robinson will show us who we are through a careful, comprehensive presentation of 2010 Census Data for our region. Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact and the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, will orient Fellows to the ways communities of faith have been and can be agents of making public policy.

Ryan Robinson

City of Austin Demographer

Ryan is a native Austinite, graduating from Austin High and The University of Texas. After working with the state’s General Land Office under Commissioner Mauro for just over a year, he attended The University of Georgia in Athens where he got a Masters degree in geography and met his wife. Ryan began his demographic career as an enrollment forecaster and boundary planner for a large, rapidly growing suburban school system in Atlanta during the mid-80s. Ryan started working for the City of Austin as a demographer in 1990 and has directed their demographics workprogram since 1995. His current professional interests include data mapping and interpretation, population change, and the rise of socioeconomic inequality. He is the father of two teenage daughters--so please be gentle with him as he’s often on the edge.

Bee Moorhead, Executive Director

Bee Moorhead is a respected leader in public policy and faith-based advocacy at the state and national levels. She is the director of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy and its partner organization, Texas Impact.

Bee has been director of Texas Impact since 2000, managing every aspect of the organization’s work and answering to a 45-member board of directors made up of representatives from the state’s many faith communities. Under Bee’s leadership, Texas Impact has moved from fewer than 1,000 members to more than 20,000 members and earned recognition as a national leader in interfaith education and community leadership development.

Bee spent eight years as a senior fiscal policy analyst for former Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts John Sharp, where she helped to lead the nationally known Texas Performance Review, providing members of the Texas Legislature with numerous recommendations for strengthening state government and state services. Bee was responsible for the Comptroller's attention to public policy issues related to health and human services, and she was the chief architect of Family Pathfinders, a unique program linking Texas congregations and civic organizations with families on public assistance.

An ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Bee has been a member of University Presbyterian Church in Austin since 1983. She is married to Robert Moorhead, a long-time staff member of the award-winning PBS television show "Austin City Limits." The Moorheads have three children.