Richmond Mayor Stoney appoints iCubed scholar to human services post


By Jena K. Gray

Risha Berry, Ph.D. headshot [View Image]

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has appointed iCubed visiting scholar, Risha R. Berry, Ph.D., as the new interim deputy chief administrative officer for human services, effective April 2, 2018.

Dr. Berry will work to align the vast human services portfolio in order to increase pathways to economic mobility and enhanced quality of life. She hopes to elevate human services as a holistic place of healing and stability to all.

Dr. Berry oversees the city’s Departments of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities; Social Services; and Justice Services and serves as liaison to Richmond City Health District, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and Richmond Public Library. She is responsible for providing oversight to the following city’s programs: Office on Aging and Persons with Disabilities, Office of Volunteerism – Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) and Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Dr. Berry’s position as visiting scholar for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed), she says, helped refine and map the strategy for this work. Dr. Berry is a member of iCubed’s Social Justice transdisciplinary core where the team develops innovative and impactful community-based research centered on addressing structural barriers to educational achievement, individual and family well-being, and their influence on economic mobility.

Using an ecological systems theory and transdisciplinary approach, she will pursue the continuation of community wealth building, where economic mobility and improved quality of life is available to those seeking human services.

“I hope to de-stigmatize and reframe the narrative that often accompanies those who utilize human services,” shares Dr. Berry, “including individuals and families who use public benefits or those living through homelessness.”

About iCubed

iCubed at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a cutting edge institute focused on catalyzing collaborative connections between the university and the community at large through innovative academic and research programs. Our transdisciplinary core teams collaborate with key community members in order to develop holistic solutions to 21st century urban challenges within the Commonwealth. For more information about iCubed or to apply to one of the transdisciplinary core teams, please visit: