• Poverty, Family and Trauma Research Center founding director and researcher Dr. Felipe Oyarzo recognized several student researchers at the center’s dedication Sept. 28. Pictured, Dr. Felipe Oyarzo (from left), RSU President Dr. Larry Rice, Riley Suiter, Trixie Asher, Shannon Smith and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Beck.
    RSU’s Poverty, Family and Trauma Research Center Hosts Dedication Ceremony Sept. 28


of Oklahomans live under the poverty line*


of women and 40% of men have experienced intimate partner violence at some time in their lives in Oklahoma*


of Oklahomans have reported suffering from a mental health disorder*

The promise of Oklahoma: Work conquers all. But what if that isn’t true?

The Sooner state is one of the best places in the nation to raise a family. Love of neighbor, community, and country are the hallmark themes of Oklahoma. It is a place that proclaims Labor omnia vincit! Work conquers all! For many, that means working hard will bring rich rewards.

But not everyone in Oklahoma finds the treasures that promise claims to bring.

There are families in Oklahoma living with food and housing insecurity.

  • Our children have the highest ACE (adverse childhood experiences) scores in the nation.
  • Incarcerated women have an average ACE score of 5.75 compared to the national average of two.
  • Families who live in poverty encounter multiple traumas.

They live with the daily stress of choosing whether to pay rent, buy food, or pay the electric bill. They want to work but they have no car, or the car needs repair. They have less access to the resources needed to navigate these traumatic experiences.

*Source: United States Census Bureau & The State of Oklahoma 2023.

It is time to change all this. It is time for Oklahoma to be a kind neighbor, love all their communities, and serve the country.

We want to have a positive impact on Oklahoma. Our neighbors in urban and rural areas are hurting.

  • Oklahoma ranks fifth in the nation for children suffering from trauma.
  • 60% of families in rural areas live in poverty.
  • 15% have four or more ACEs.

This project exists for the purpose of producing high-quality empirical research on family problems related to poverty and trauma, seeking to identify strategies for addressing these problems first in our state and then in other regions of the country and the world, influencing policy-making, international research, counseling, and education.

The Poverty, Family and Trauma Research Center works closely with the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and uses data provided by this entity for many of its current studies.

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