TRI-Lab: Teaching, Research, and Impact

The TRI-Lab at Brown is a new initiative that will bring together students, faculty, and community practitioners to engage with a complex social issue and collaboratively develop, refine, and test solutions to the issue. 

Current Labs:

More on this page:

The heart of the Lab will be a year-long seminar in which participants explore the framework and context of the issue, creatively harness their multiple perspectives towards solutions, and find support for individual research. Prior to the seminar, Labs will sponsor conferences that connect the university and community around a social issue and cultivate interest. In the year following the seminar, Lab cohorts can apply for seed funding to continue to work together to build practice and knowledge around solutions.

The Lab model is been designed with input from faculty members, students and community practitioners. To date, we have met with nearly 150 stakeholders, all of whom expressed enthusiasm for the idea. 

Learn more about the TRI-Lab model.

Planning Grants

The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights will work with Brown faculty and community partners to develop a TRI-Lab Lab focused on issues of incarceration, race, criminal justice, and health. The planning effort will be led by Brad Brockmann, Executive Director, Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights.

News and Events


We are now accepting applications for the Climate Change and Environmental Justice Lab (2014-2015.) Please see our How to Apply page for the application. 

Summer Fellows

Nine students from the 2014-2015 Healthy Food Access lab have fellowships from TRI-Lab this summer. Check out Swearer Sparks to hear their stories.

  • Sophie Duncan '16 - Farm Fresh RI
  • Jana Foxe '16 - African Alliance
  • Christina Hom MPH '15 - Providence Plan/RI Food Policy Council 
  • Kearney McDonnell '17 - City Harvest Nutrition Education Leadership
  • Kelly McGlynn '15 -  Research Assistant to Dawn King
  • Meagan Miller '15  - Fresh to You
  • Carlie Peters '16 - Farm Fresh RI 
  • Sarah Peters '16 - TRI-Lab Program  
  • Renata Robles '15 - Food Recovery Network 

Read TRI-Lab's most recent newsletters:

Did you miss our TRI-Lab launch event? View a video of the event here, featuring remarks by Brown University President Christina Paxson, Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron, Professor of Epidemiology Stephen Buka, and Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Elizabeth Burke Bryant. 

Meet Our Staff

Allen Hance, Director

Allen Hance serves as the Director of the TRI-Lab at Brown.  Allen also holds an appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. Previous to TRI-Lab, he was Director for Natural and Physical Sciences in Brown’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.  Prior to coming to Brown, Allen was the executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a public foundation based in Annapolis, MD that supports community-based solutions to environmental problems.  During that time, he also served as co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network and chair of the Green Funders affinity group of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.  Previously, Allen was a senior policy analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute in Washington, DC, working on agriculture, ecosystem management, and nutrition and food system policy; a NOAA-Sea Grant legislative fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives; and a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He earned a BA in philosophy at Dartmouth College, PhD in philosophy at Boston College, and MS in environmental policy at the University of Michigan.

Laura Pleasants, Program Coordinator

Laura comes to TRI-Lab from Brown’s Global Health Initiative, where she served as Program Coordinator for the Ghana-Brown Academic Partnership to Address HIV/AIDS. Laura brings experience in student international exchange and community service programming. A native of Rhode Island, Laura earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and Master’s of Higher Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

TRI-Lab's Home

At the end of August, the TRI-Lab program moved into its new space at 10 Davol Square, in Providence’s downtown Jewelry District.  Designed to be the central hub for TRI-Lab activities, it will have flexible meeting areas for seminars, project team work, and community events as well as work space for TRI-Lab staff. Come and visit us down in Davol Square!


Learn More

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about TRI-Lab, please contact:

Laura Pleasants, Program Coordinator
Email: or  
Phone: (401) 867-3735