Community-Engaged – Page 5 – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

UROP Fellowship: Community-Engaged

Geographic Differences in Faculty Attitudes on the Inclusion of Content on Oppression in Social Work Curriculum

Faculty in graduate schools of social work have a critical role in shaping the future of social work through their role in training and teaching new social workers. This study aims to examine how, if at all, the American geographical regions in which social work educators teach affects their views on the importance of including content on racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia/cissexism, ageism and classism. Using several one-way ANOVAs, this study investigates whether a faculty’s geographical location contributes to a difference in how strongly they believe content on a specific type of oppression should be included in the curriculum they teach. Findings revealed that faculty attitudes on what content of oppression to include were not homogenous throughout the country. Further investigation showed that there is not one topic that any social work educator would deem not important to include in their teaching. Given that MSW students believe that the social work profession calls for them to challenge all forms of oppression (Goode et. al, 2020), it is critical that their instructors educate them on these systems. Faculty attitudes on the importance of including content on oppression in their curriculum can impact not only what they teach, but how prepared future social workers feel to do what the profession calls for them to do. Therefore, it’s important to analyze potential factors that would shape how important social work educators feel it is to include content on different forms of oppression.

Better Air Quality Outcomes in Southwest Detroit

Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV) works to fulfill the needs of the community by empowering its residents to engage and by providing a connection to important resources. SDEV works with industrial corporations, businesses, and residents to address environmental pressures and concerns, specifically air pollution. Residents of Southwest Detroit live in the middle of industry and are exposed to bad air quality that leads to asthma, lead poisoning, strokes, heart attacks, and more. Even more significantly, these high impact areas correlate to more COVID fatalities as a result of these pre-existing conditions. SDEV recognizes that these high impact areas are primarily urban areas of color and that environmental and racial justice go hand in hand. To combat this issue, SDEV is working to propose a revised truck route to reduce truck traffic on residential streets and to increase enforcement of Detroit’s Anti-Idling Ordinance. SDEV has compiled a list of community members willing to host cameras and air-quality monitors at their residences collecting data relating to pollution levels. This data will be used in the proposal to revise the truck routes in order to better protect the health and wellbeing of the community. SDEV also fosters civic engagement and advocates for environmental policy. This is done by organizing residents to talk to their representatives who vote on the policies that affect them. Through these efforts, SDEV is able to engage the community and make deep and impactful changes that lessen environmental pressures. SDEV works to ensure that the residents come first and their concerns are being heard and met.

Better Air Quality Outcomes in Southwest Detroit

Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV) works to fulfill the needs of the community by empowering its residents to engage and by providing a connection to important resources. SDEV works with industrial corporations, businesses, and residents to address environmental pressures and concerns, specifically air pollution. Residents of Southwest Detroit live in the middle of industry and are exposed to bad air quality that leads to asthma, lead poisoning, strokes, heart attacks, and more. Even more significantly, these high impact areas correlate to more COVID fatalities as a result of these pre-existing conditions. SDEV recognizes that these high impact areas are primarily urban areas of color and that environmental and racial justice go hand in hand. To combat this issue, SDEV is working to propose a revised truck route to reduce truck traffic on residential streets and to increase enforcement of Detroit’s Anti-Idling Ordinance. SDEV has compiled a list of community members willing to host cameras and air-quality monitors at their residences collecting data relating to pollution levels. This data will be used in the proposal to revise the truck routes in order to better protect the health and wellbeing of the community. SDEV also fosters civic engagement and advocates for environmental policy. This is done by organizing residents to talk to their representatives who vote on the policies that affect them. Through these efforts, SDEV is able to engage the community and make deep and impactful changes that lessen environmental pressures. SDEV works to ensure that the residents come first and their concerns are being heard and met.

Creating a Culture of Health at Hope Family Health Center

Authority Health recently received funding to develop and implement a Child & Adolescent Health Center at Hope Academy Charter school on Detroit’s west side. In light of this development, there was a need to establish a school wellness plan, recommending types of physical activity and nutritional services that would benefit students in the Nardin Park area. This project aimed to assess community resources, the physical environment around Hope Academy, and current nutrition and physical activity habits in order to create that physical activity and nutritional programming, integrating other community resources and providing benefit to students’ health and wellness. The methodology behind this endeavor was to conduct an environmental scan for community resources in the Nardin Park area, meet virtually on a weekly basis with parents at the school, and to gather data about physical activity and nutritional patterns from the children via surveys distributed to their parents. Survey results will be analyzed to compare student habits to suggested physical activity and nutritional guidelines by accredited national health organizations. The results will then be used to develop programming that aims to promote physical activity and nutritional improvements in line with established guidelines, that includes the integration of community resources, discovered through the environmental scan, for provision of programming.

Data Gathering Data Analysis Toward Better Air Quality Outcomes in SW Detroit

In 2019, a resident of southwest Detroit called SDEV to ask for help with air pollution that was getting into her house. The problem was so bad that she had to change furnace filters monthly, which were completely caked with black soot. SDEV visited the resident’s home to learn more and received a furnace filter from the resident. My project involved launching a survey of residents to see how many are experiencing similar indoor air quality concerns and quantifying the information to present at SDEV’s annual member’s meeting and to the City of Detroit’s Council meeting. Using a google form, the survey was created with feedback from University of Michigan Public Health experts and other professional resources. With the internet, phone, and physical canvassing efforts, data was collected from 48 residents. We have found a majority of residents surveyed do experience some kind of air quality problems inside the house (grime, soot collecting on the walls, furnace filter color black, etc.) persisting for at least over a year. SDEV intends to use this data to push for real change and bring more resources to address the problem in people’s homes. By making the data accessible to the public, government decision-makers, and others who can bring resources, SDEV will work with community members and others to address the problem of indoor air quality. We have and will continue to connect with community members to bring awareness to the resources that can mitigate the impact of pollution at home. This work aligns with the recommendations of the community-based participatory research initiative Community Action to Promote Healthy Environments (CAPHE) facilitated by University of Michigan with SDEV and other local partners.

Trends in the Market Status of Cannabis by US Population

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis. In the roughly 25 years since then, nearly 35 states have passed legislation to make medical cannabis legal. A similar state-level trend for the legalization of recreational marijuana started in 2012. The population eligible for medical marijuana use has been growing, as has the population affected by the legalization of recreational cannabis. In order to determine how quickly these markets are changing and to help pinpoint years that may have been particularly influential, data was gathered that tracks adult population by state and year. This data was assembled in 2 separate groups; one where states have legalized medical marijuana, and another where states have legalized recreational marijuana (often in addition to medical). The trends observed demonstrate that the population prohibited from any type of marijuana use – recreational or medical – has been decreasing, as the populations for medical use and recreational use have been increasing fairly steadily, with large population jumps corresponding to new states’ legalization, in 2014 and 2016 in particular. By 2016, more of the US population lived in states where cannabis was legal for medical use than where it was prohibited.

Political Beliefs and Bias in Social Network Formation

This project investigates how social networks change during divisive political discussion. In a behavioral experiment, we place student participants in a random communication network with up to 20 others. Participants discuss campus social issues over the course of several rounds. At each round, participants are exposed to differing opinions of their connections and make decisions to “rewire” their network, or to add, drop, or request new social connections to communicate with in the next round. We measure how individuals make these network decisions at both the individual and group level. We also experimentally manipulate a social cue that reveals the closeness of another person in relation to the participant. Experimental sessions are conducted remotely and anonymously, simulating interaction as it might occur on social media. Our data help understand the biases that lead people to form echo chambers, which may contribute to downstream consequences of biased information sharing, misinformation spread, and misbeliefs about public opinion.

Political Bias in Social Network Formation

This project investigates how social networks form. Through behavioral experiments, students observe how political and social beliefs influence social network formation and the downstream consequences of selecting into a biased information-sharing environment. This might include general political reasoning, misinformation spread, and ingroup bias. Students work closely with the research mentor and project manager to learn about research design in the social sciences and gain valuable experience collecting data from human participants. Student responsibilities have included reviewing background literature, entering and maintaining data, and conducting internet searches. Students are also trained in analyzing the data for presentation. Experimental sessions are conducted remotely, and students help plan, schedule, and organize sessions.

Lessons on Community Building from The Dream Storytelling Project

The Dream Storytelling Project is an oral history initiative with the purpose of educating the wider public about Detroit’s African American Muslim and African Muslim community-building and revitalization efforts. I served as a transcriber for several oral history interviews. In this capacity, I worked to make the content of each individual’s interview clear for the wider public. As I carried out my work, I learned about the mosque as a venue for community-building, acting as a gathering place for people to meet throughout the week. I also observed the importance of language and shared rhetoric, noticing the prevalence of Arabic terms and phrases. Additionally, I noted the importance of community building efforts via the devotion of individuals’ time and skillsets, applying them to the different needs of the population in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all. Once finalized, the transcripts are then shared via an interactive multimedia website and permanent public archive. This allows for The Storytelling Project to provide educational materials about African American Muslim and African Muslim history and leadership in Detroit, thereby building knowledge about under-represented and under-served populations.

The Dream of Detroit’s Storytelling Project

Dream of Detroit’s Storytelling project is aimed at educating the public about African-American Muslim and African Muslim communities in Detroit through oral history interviews. I helped transcribe a set of these interviews to prepare them for the project’s multi-media website and permanent public archive. These interviews, carried out by a team of young people from within community, center around how members of these populations participate in community building, leadership, and the revitalization of Detroit. Through my work in the project, I deepened my understanding of how community members view the importance of Islamic education, neighborhood revitalization, and social justice. I learned about the diversity of individuals and experiences within these communities. I will benefit from this broadened perspective in both my personal and educational life. The transcriptions of these interviews and the project as a whole will increase understanding, appreciation, and respect for the history, diversity, and impact of African American Muslim and African Muslim communities in Detroit.

lsa logoum logo