Community-Engaged Projects: Implementation Stages

Your Life. Your Story. Latino Youth Summit. “YLYS.” 
With Latino Health Organization

 After looking at the significance of the ASAP data and disseminating it to local Latino community members, our partnership (CHEER and LHO) decided that the immediate community need was some sort of intervention and Your Life. Your Story. Latino Youth Summit was conceptualized, developed, and implemented this summer.  YLYS is an intervention study to increase resilience and self-mastery in Latino adolescents, with the aim of reducing and/or preventing depressive symptoms.  YLYS is an evidence-based, interdisciplinary, community-based yearlong program that just completed its first phase, which consisted of a one-week summer camp where Latino youth went through a resilience-building curriculum, followed by a selection of art and movement based activities to develop goals for the future and identify barriers and opportunities. After one week of camp, preliminary data suggest that the YLYS camp had a statistically significant impact on participants with an increase in resilience (p =.04) and a decrease in depression (p =.003 (KADS-11) and p = .014 (PHQ-4)). The research team will meet with YLYS adolescents once per month for booster sessions.  Additionally, several of these monthly meetings will include programming for parents which was an expressed need from the original ASAP pilot study. 

Funding: IMHC, IUPUI (MURI Research Program, Community and Urban Health PDT funds through CTSI), Eskenazi Health, The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis


The Roots Project: Exploring Pathways to Improve Mental Health and Supportive Family Relations in Hispanic Immigrants. “Roots Project.”  
With Esperanza Ministries

The Roots Project is a CBPR collaboration between Esperanza Ministries (Greenwood, IN) and CHEER (Bigatti, Conrad & Weathers).  The purpose of the study is to develop a better understanding of the upstream factors-such as trauma from the immigration experience-that may be contributing to depression, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence in Hispanic men served by Esperanza Ministries.  In this mixed-methods study, the research team collects both qualitative (key informant interviews) and quantitative (questionnaires on study variables) data from 60 Hispanic men, and qualitative data (focus groups) from 30 Hispanic women in the same community.   Findings will provide rich information to inform effective and culturally-tailored strategies for addressing depression, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence in this highly vulnerable population. 

Funding: 2013-2014 SMRP funding through IMHC


Acculturative Stress in Latino Adolescents: Relations to Mental Health. “ASAP.” 
With Latino Health Organization

ASAP is a CBPR collaboration between the Latino Health Organization and CHEER (Bigatti, Conrad & Weathers).  The primary aim of ASAP was to develop a better understanding of the relationship between acculturative stress and mental health outcomes of Latino adolescents living in Indianapolis.  Peer support, family cohesion, self-mastery, and perceived discrimination as predictors of stress were also investigated as potential mediators.  Latino adolescents (n=86) filled out a packet of survey instruments to measure these variables, while parents (n=100) participated in focus group questions on the same topics. 

Adolescent subjects scored relatively low for levels of acculturative stress, but a moderate level of acculturative stress was found to be significantly related to depression.  In fact, those with moderate levels of acculturative stress were at a ten-fold increase in likelihood of having depression (p

Funding: 2012-2013 SMRP funding through IMHC


METAFORS: Mothers’ Education and Training Assistance for Optimizing Resiliency and Self-Efficacy. “METAFORS.” 
With Latino Health Organization

METAFORS is a study designed by CHEER (Bigatti & Conrad) and the Latino Health Organization.  The aim of METAFORS is to develop and test an intervention to increase resilience and self-efficacy in Latino mothers, with the expectation that it will result in reductions of family conflict, depression, and parent struggles, and therefore stress.   40 Latino mothers in Marion County will be the target population. The intervention will be evaluated through a mixed-methods approach where the participating mothers will complete surveys and interviews, and their family members will complete surveys.

Funding: 2014-2015 SMRP funding through IMHC     

With Every Heartbeat is Health.  “IMHC Kidney Project.” 
With IMHC and AFAM Consulting

Based on previous work, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition identified kidney disease as a chronic disease of interest – particularly in the Indianapolis African American community.  The Coalition approached Drs. Coe and Staten and offered funding to support efforts in the design of a program and curriculum targeting kidney disease prevention.  Given that kidney disease has many of the same risk factors as other chronic disease (such as diabetes and heart disease), Drs. Coe and Staten suggested that the focus be instead on chronic disease prevention and general wellness, instead of focusing exclusively on kidney disease.  With guiding input from IMHC satellite coalitions around the state, the team adapted the NHLBI’s With Every Heartbeat is Life heart health educational curriculum to encompass 1) a broader audience that was less culture-specific and 2) information and promotion on kidney disease and other chronic diseases.  The team also developed evaluation tools for the program.  IMHC and their community agencies/satellite coalitions are leading the implementation, which is set to be complete by the end of 2014.

Funding: IMHC

Pockets of Peace: Investigating Urban Neighborhoods Resilient to Adolescent Violence. “Pockets.” 
With various community residents

Myriad information exists about the community-level processes that explain the association between neighborhood disadvantage and juvenile violence—including but not limited to collective trust, moral cynicism, network ties, and limited access to public and parochial institutions. Neighborhood-based interventions often refer to these studies when they attempt to intervene in problematic behavior among disadvantaged youth. However, existing research proves difficult to translate into feasible community-level interventions.  Part of this difficulty is due to the deficit-based orientation of available literature: it identifies neighborhoods’ limitations and risks but not the mechanisms neighborhoods use to navigate limitations and manage risk.  In direct contrast, the resilience paradigm places direct focus on youths’ capacity to thrive in challenging situations. This shift in focus has significantly augmented our understanding of protective factors for individual-level youth behavior, and has, therefore, informed effective individual-level interventions. Yet, the implication of this literature is that urban neighborhoods are largely ecological settings within which some youth manage to thrive.

Pockets of Peace is a study that conceptualizes neighborhoods themselves as potentially resilient.  The project focuses on resilient communities rather than individual resiliency in communities. The intention of the work is to augment the body of research on neighborhood rates of violence such that it can be more easily translated into actionable policies and programs. This study involves several major components including focus groups, systematic social observation, adolescent mobile phone diaries, and a large community survey.

Funding: William T. Grant Foundation


Roving Listeners.  
With various community residents and Broadway United Methodist

Before beginning the development of instruments for the various data collection efforts in the Pockets of Peace project, we introduced the Roving Listener procedure. This procedure was implemented to produce practice-relevant information about neighborhood processes that minimize youth violence in high risk areas.  Specifically, we were attempting to obtain information relating to neighborhood assets and processes for specific geographic areas. Roving listeners would go to designated geographic locations and spend time observing, interacting, and collecting stories from local residents. They would then report their experiences back to the researchers in an interview setting.

Funding: William T. Grant Foundation


Mental Health Resources.  
With Shepherd Community Center

With her research methods class, Dr. Leech is trying to discover the prevalence of mental illness in the community that Shepherd serves. The focus is on the children served - Kindergarten through sixth grade. Shepherd wants to look into short term versus long term mental health resources, the type of mental health resources that are available and how they can connect with them, or if they can have onsite mental health resources.

Formative Research for a Lead Exposure Community Action Plan: A Collaborative Social and Environmental Science Research Project. “Lead Project.” 
With Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Reconnecting Our Waterways, and several community residents

Children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged urban areas are at elevated risk for Pb exposure, but we find still find low rates of high blood lead levels in some of these resilient areas. It is critical, then, to understand social factors that are contributing to and mediating this environmental susceptibility. This project aims to develop an advisory board consisting of members from the two PI’s (social science and environmental science) existing community relationships, and to conduct focus groups to complete the needs and capacity assessment. These two preliminary steps are essential to the future project’s goal of utilizing intervention mapping methodology to develop, implement, and evaluate a lead exposure community action plan for socioeconomically disadvantaged urban communities.

Funding: Research Support Funds Grant (RSFG)


Clinton County Project
With the Health Communities of Clinton County Coalition

 The Clinton County Project is a joint venture initiated by the Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition (HCCCC), the CHEP program at the CTSI, Purdue Extension, and the Fairbanks School of Public Health.  The purpose is to 1) evaluate the impact of the ongoing public health efforts of the HCCCC, 2) to create visual communication materials to help engage residents in even healthier lifestyles, and 3) to produce a “Clinton County Toolkit” that captures discovered successful strategies.  Data collection has been completed and the analyses are underway. 

Funding: CHEP

Compañeros en la Salud

Compañeros en la Salud (Partners in Health) is a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project which began in 2010 as a partnership between La Plaza and CHEER. The goal of the partnership is to connect with the Hispanic community as a first step in the implementation of community health promotion activities. Since 2010, we have completed a health needs assessment and held several meetings where we conceptualized how we will reach our joint goal of providing effective health promotion interventions within a CBPR framework. The Compañeros project is the next phase of the process, and consists of obtaining community input and involvement. We are currently achieving this step through a series of qualitative methodologies. Specifically, we began with two community forums, or Charla, which informed two waves of focus groups to be held this Fall. These in turn will inform in-depth interviews with community members and key informants. We will then take all the information obtained from these efforts, combine them with the needs assessment and La Plaza data, and move to the next step, which will be to solicit funding through federal grantors and foundations for material adaptation, program implementation, and evaluation.

Mapping Neighborhood Health

Neighborhoods have both physical and social dimensions, and research has shown that there are many mechanisms by which both the physical and social characteristics of neighborhoods may influence or mediate health. While health researchers have long understood that where people live influences their health, new methods are leading to new understandings about the complex relationship between place and health.

A significant limitation to advancing understanding about neighborhood-level influences on health, in context with the social dimension of neighborhoods (e.g. poverty, crime, education), is the availability of spatially-enabled health data.  Linking electronic health record systems with community information systems holds great promise for the investigation of the social determinants of health.  The clinical records in the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC) contain a wealth of data about the health of Indiana citizens, and this project aims to test the feasibility of using spatial‐enabled clinical records to develop population health indicators for smaller geographic areas, such as neighborhoods.

Achieving this integration would substantially enhance opportunities to conduct research of national significance on the health effects of the physical and social dimensions of neighborhoods.

Collaborators include the Indiana University Schools of Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Liberal Arts (the Polis Center), and the Regenstrief Institute.