By Thomasi McDonald

August 22, 2023

West Coast economist Brandon Ware was inspired to research food deserts when he had to drive nearly five miles before finding what he called “a full-fledged grocery store” while visiting family in Michigan.

Food deserts are urban areas where residents have little or no access to affordable, fresh healthy food. Ware, an associate professor of business analytics and economics at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles in Southern California, helped design a church-operated grocery store in Indianapolis that offers fresh food and cooking demonstrations to residents of the midwestern city’s food deserts.

Since 2018, Ware has also been involved in the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics Fellowship Program (DITE), whose annual gathering in early August was sponsored by the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke. It took place at the JB Duke Hotel.

Now in its 15th year, DITE aims to remedy the glaring underrepresentation of Black, Latinx, Native American economists and other people of color among the tenured ranks of university faculty members.

“However, the numbers of Black and Latino economists are so low, the cost of losing even one is significant,” he added.