As a Fedele F. Fauri Collegiate Professor of Social Work, Dr. Spencer's research examines disparities in physical and mental health and service use of populations of color, as well as interventions for reducing disparities.
He is the Principal Investigator of the REACH Detroit Family Intervention, an NIH-funded, community-based, participatory research (CBPR) project which aims at reducing disparities in type 2 diabetes through the use of community health workers among Latino residents in Southwest Detroit. He also investigates the association between discrimination and physical and mental health as well as service use among Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans.
Dr. Spencer has initiated several CBPR interventions on issues related to environmental justice and intergroup relations, including dialogue groups in local high schools as a means for negotiating conflict and promoting anti-bigotry and social justice among adolescents.
His research interests and focus include disparities, mental health services, race/ethnicity, CBPR, discrimination and community health workers.