Community-Engaged – Page 2 – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

UROP Fellowship: Community-Engaged

COVID-19 hidden stories of mental health

The upsurge of the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought forth many studies concerning how marginalized communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus: partly due to discriminatory practices embedded within the United States healthcare system, increased proportions of those working essential jobs, and increased probabilities of suffering from preexisting conditions, among other factors. However, there is very little qualitative research regarding the first-hand experiences of these individuals, particularly those within the Hispanic community, nor is there research accessible to Spanish-speaking individuals. Thus, our study entitled “COVID-19 Hidden Stories” searches to collect and empower the experiences of Hispanic individuals who have been affected by the pandemic through virtual interviews in a way that has not yet been amplified by the media or made accessible for the community’s use. Utilizing a trauma-informed journalistic approach, interviews were conducted through phone calls with Hispanic individuals who had contracted COVID-19 within West Michigan, South East Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois communities. The interviews were transcribed and compiled into an audio podcast format, all in Spanish, with English subtitles including necessary context and analysis for individual accounts. Ultimately, analysis of the interviews indicated that difficulties in obtaining access to testing and care, financial burdens, and mistrust of the healthcare system in general were the primary obstacles faced by the Hispanic community during their battles with COVID-19. As a result of these obstacles, our interviewees demonstrated several accounts of mental distress, allowing us to focus on the ways their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic. Ultimately, this journalistic research aims to create solidarity during a time of isolation and highlight noteworthy changes in mental health as experienced by the Hispanic community. The research also highlights the intersectionality that exists between modern-day immigration policies and discriminatory health-care practices against Hispanic persons.

Southwest Detroit Community Court Program

The Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center (SWDCJC) works to increase the safety and fairness of the area they serve by increasing public trust in the justice system, reducing crime, and meeting the needs of the people. They achieve this by offering restorative alternatives to traditional justice system processes like fines and incarceration. Rather, SWDCJC offers programs that educate and provide opportunities for community service. Through the community court program, SWDCJC has decreased incarceration and money owed for misdemeanor crimes, overall increasing the wellbeing in the zip codes served. They are looking to expand their impact by adding programs dedicated to stopping human trafficking as well.

Southwest Detroit Community Court Program: The Clean Slate Bill

On October 12th, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a series of bills into law, the most significant and popular of these being the “Clean Slate Bill”. “For too long, criminal charges have created barriers to employment, barriers to housing and others for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. These bipartisan bills are going to be a game-changer,” Whitmer said. This bill will affect hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents who have criminal records and traffic violations with the first aspects of the bill going into effect on April 10th, 2021. The Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center (SWDCJC) is passionate about criminal justice reform and fair access to the justice system. The nonprofit’s mission statement states, “The mission of the Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center is to increase public trust in the justice system, assist in the reduction of crime, improve the quality of life and meet the needs of the community.” SWDCJC’s focus is four zip code areas in Detroit and the organization’s CEO and my research mentor LaNeice Jones has been committed to promoting education and criminal reform for over a year. The organization has hosted several events to help prevent offenses and reform those who already have offenses. Specifically, this research project was made to find best practices to spread the word about the Clean Slate Bill to help expunge the records of thousands of individuals. We are increasing awareness of this bill by synthesizing information to distribute to the community, collecting statistics for grant writing, and hosting an “Ask the Judge” event to educate the greater community about the ins and outs of this bill. Our ultimate goal is to help people expunge their records so they can have a greater opportunity to apply to better jobs and participate in services that are restricted to people with criminal records. Increasing access to job opportunities by expunging records will help fuel diversity of thought and region to many different career paths, and give people a second chance who desperately deserve one.

Building the Kindergarten Pipeline: DPSCD’s Approach to Enhancing the Transition from Early Childhood to Kindergarten

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) aims to educate and empower every student, in every community, every day, to build a stronger Detroit. DPSCD understands the immense benefits of Kindergarten for the academic and personal development of Detroit students. As the primary entry point for most families into the District, it is critical that DPSCD maintain a healthy Kindergarten enrollment. However, in fall 2020, DPSCD saw a decline in Kindergarten enrollment like many cities and districts across the country. To combat this trend, the District has developed a series of new programs and resources that support parents in navigating the transition between pre-K and Kindergarten. This includes webinars, school-led open houses, and video-based resources for families. The District is engaging early childhood centers and educators, as well as drawing on best practices, to build strong community connections and create resources that prepare students to thrive in Kindergarten.

Continuous evaluation of instruction

The project uses mobile-eye tracking in classrooms to analyze teachers responses to misbehaviors in the classroom and find the most effective way of responding to a misbehavior. To measure this response, we have collected 52 different videos of 26 classrooms in which an expert teacher and a student teacher take turns teaching in. Each class period has various videos, an eye tracking video as well as a few stationary cameras focused on the students. The class periods last from 35 to 45 minutes long and feature 1st to 11th grade classrooms with around 20 or 30 students in them. The groups of students reflected different socioeconomic backgrounds. The mobile eye-tracking device tracks the teachers gaze, recording whether the teacher notices a student misbehaving. Trained coders watch each video and code each misbehavior and the teacher’s response. The point of the project is to code each misbehavior in the classroom and record whether the teacher sees it and how they respond. Preliminary results show that teachers are unaware of a majority of misbehaviors in their classrooms, that teachers respond fairly to misbehavior with regards to student gender, and that teachers are unresponsive to most of the misbehaviors they see. Although data originally suggested that teachers’ responses to boys and girls differ, further research shows that this is because boys and girls misbehave differently. This study allows educational psychologists to understand how and when teachers respond to misbehaviors in the classroom and allow them to evaluate any disparities in the education system.

Scoping review on the impact of type 2 diabetes self management programs in Asian-Americans

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is among the top reasons for deaths in Asian-Americans (AA). Although AA consists of people from more than 20 countries, existing T2D research often masks the differences. According to the Office of Minority Health (2019), about 11.5% of AA adults have T2D, compared to 8% of White Americans. The data also suggests that the rate of T2D in AA adults increased from 8.7% in 2017 to 11.5% in 2018. As Asian-Americans face challenges in healthcare, including linguistic, cultural, and literacy barriers, it is essential to research existing diabetes self-management programs (DSMPs), as many studies aggregate Asian Americans as a monolith group and disregard Asian-American subgroups’ heterogeneity. A scoping review is vital to establish foundational knowledge for DSMPs focused on AA. This scoping review defines DSMPs as managing an individual’s condition through self-care, problem-solving & decision making, resource utilization, and symptom, family, medical, or emotional management. We searched six different databases for relevant articles with no date range. The initial citation lists from all databases by keyword search yielded 2581 results. After screening for titles and abstracts, 311 articles were included in the full-text screening. Articles were excluded if they were non-primary research studies, did not focus on T2D or AA adults, and did not include DSMPs. After screening the full-text articles, 31 articles were included in the final analysis. DistillerSR was used to screen and extract data, including method, intervention duration, participant setting and demographics, theoretical framework, number and details of DSMP intervention groups, and results. We hypothesized that there is a higher need to focus on minority subgroup research. There is a need to tailor DSMPs to address the barriers that AA face in healthcare so that distinct cultural, linguistic, ethnic needs and preferences are met. Improved understanding of existing research may enhance future development of DSMPs for Asian-Americans and its subgroups.

Civic Resilience and Neighborhood Resilience Projects and Hubs

As the climate crisis accelerates, emergency and civil services increasingly are overstretched. Resilience-based programming provides relief by empowering individual citizens, neighborhood organizations, and local institutions to share the planning and preparation on behalf of their communities. Settlements become more resilient to the impacts of climate change when they develop the capacity of neighborhoods to endure, quickly recover from, and renew after extreme events. To aid these processes, we developed “A Pattern Language for Neighborhood Resilience” as a starting point. This book contains a number of guides – or patterns – on how to invest in skills, small-scale infrastructure, relationships, and supplies that increase a neighborhood’s resilience. The book is currently in draft form and soon will be pre-tested before being released. As a living document, it will undoubtedly be modified and expanded throughout its adoption.

Women’s Wave: Participation and Success by Candidates in Congressional Elections, 2014 to 2020

Despite the plethora of analysis on individual candidates of all political affiliations in national elections, it is unknown which identities are most salient in determining the successes or failures of congressional candidates. This study has examined the success of women in elections. We investigated whether female candidates present themselves as activists, which we defined as taking part in protests, volunteering for a cause, or founding a group to solve an issue. This study recovers biographical, financial, and experiential information on every documented Congressional candidate in the election years 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. An analysis of these candidates reveals characteristics of importance when predicting the outcome of an election: 1) affiliation with the main political parties; 2) campaign expenditures; and 3) experience as an activist. The results expressed by this study highlighted attributes to pay attention to in future election years when predicting wins for female candidates.

Creating a Hybrid Education Program: Best of Both Worlds

Due to COVID, educational programs have had to quickly change to an online format and many were unprepared for the drastic change. During this past year many of us have personally experienced the pros and cons of online learning, and nobody knows what the future will be like. My project for 826michigan was to find, through data collected from participants, what the strengths and weaknesses have been for both the online and in person versions of their programs in order to create a hybrid version for the future.

Using Google Earth to assess neighborhood features in the built environment: Inter-Rater Reliability results

Relevance: The built environment plays a significant role in contributing to health outcomes. The Environment and Policy Lab (EPL) is researching the association between the built environment and health outcomes in a cost-effective, accessible way by using Google Earth to assess neighborhood features. However, there are challenges in assessing certain neighborhood features. This study assessed the inter-rater reliability of several features of the built environment.

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