Michael Baran is a cultural anthropologist with more than twenty years experience conducting and organizing ethnographic research for social change on a variety of issues, including race and identity, racial disparities in education, violence against children, healthy housing, environmental health, human services, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, climate change, and early childhood development. Dr. Baran has conducted research domestically and internationally, most extensively in Brazil, Guatemala, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada and Haiti.
He currently consults for businesses, schools and non-profits on issues related to diversity and inclusion, often incorporating the digital tools developed at Interactive Diversity Solutions as part of a blended approach. In this capacity, he has presented on diversity and inclusion issues to representatives from companies such as Starbucks, Boeing, Nordstrom and Costco. He has been quoted or featured in numerous articles on race in the media from sources such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Slate, Wired Magazine, CNN, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and others.
In addition to his IDS work, he has taught courses on race and identity, Latin America, child development, expository writing and research methodology at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. He has worked as Associate Director at the FrameWorks Institute and currently works as a Principal Researcher at the American Institutes of Research. In that capacity, he manages the community-based research on a USAID-funded project aimed to leverage deep foundational research to better inform interventions and communications to reduce violence against children in Haiti. In this project and others, Baran builds capacity with teams of local researchers to conduct culturally relevant research and to support the long-term sustainability of multi-year, multi-method projects with previous funders including the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, UNICEF and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
Dr. Baran received his B.A. from Emory University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology with a certificate in ‘Culture and Cognition’ from the University of Michigan. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is learning Haitian Creole.