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Institute for Metropolitan Affairs

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The Institute for Metropolitan Affairs (IMA) is the public policy research group operated by Roosevelt University. The Institute engages in a broad array of research activities that impact the Chicago metropolitan area including: community development, criminal justice, drug policy, education, poverty studies, race relations, and social service provision.

About the IMA

The IMA seeks projects that impact the Chicago metropolitan area and engage the communities of Roosevelt's Chicago and Schaumburg campuses. It works to apply academic expertise to policy problems affecting the region. Its work in the field of social welfare is consistent with Roosevelt's historic mission. The Institute's core activities include:

  • Facilitating and conducting major research projects in business, economics, education, political science, public policy, and sociology.
  • Conducting symposia, forums, and presentations on public policy areas of regional interest.
  • Assisting Roosevelt faculty with the development of teaching and scholarship.
  • Providing contract consulting to Chicago area governments and institutions.

The Institute for Metropolitan Affairs was created in 1989 to address public policy issues through policy analysis and strategic community planning. Since the late 1990s, the IMA has conducted more than 40 funded projects and engaged over sixty students in its professional work. In pursuit of its mission, the Institute focuses on:

  • Conducting research aimed at illuminating issues important to understanding the context within which public policy operates in the Chicago area.
  • Providing technical assistance to important institutions operating in the metropolitan area.
  • Involving Roosevelt students in authentic research experiences and providing them with opportunities for financial support
  • Majority of work is conducted under the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy currently. Please see the Consortium for information.
Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy

In 2005, Institute leadership established the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy to study the impacts of drug policy on the criminal justice system, health, housing, and social identification. The Consortium's projects view social policies through the lens of substance use and drug policy.


Kathleen (Kathie) Kane-Willis
Interim Director, Institute for Metropolitan Affairs at Roosevelt University
Director, Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy

Kathie Kane-Willis is the co-founder and director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, a research and policy institute housed at Roosevelt University, which she created in 2005. Kathie has worked extensively to:

  • Create harm reduction policy solutions to the heroin and opioid crisis, including “Good Samaritan” immunity laws and naloxone access laws (the drug that reverse opioid OD) in Midwestern states;
  • Ensure that Illinois Medicaid recipients were able to access medications to treat opioid use disorder such as methadone and buprenorphine under PA 99-0480 and to enforce parity;
  • Encourage lesislations that allows individuals suffering from substance use disorders AND criminal records are ablt to have their criminal records expunged, sealed and engage in civil society;
  • Reduce the racial disparity of those charged with drug offenses.
  • Reduce the penalites associated with drug offenses.
  • Engage students in the research, policy and advocacy process, hiring over 40 students during her 15 year tenure with Roosevelt University;
  • Mobilize and assist grass roots efforts in advocacy at the intersection of drugs and other social spheres.

Read Kathie's Huffington Post blogs
Read Kathie's piece in the Fix
Follow Kathie on Twitter