Recognizing when a project has evolved and reached a mature, and thus longer-term, stage (we call them Phase II projects) is an important part of the CARSS process of nurturing bold aspirations toward realization. We’re helping these early-stage projects and prospects gain momentum and discern their next steps.
Mortgage foreclosures have hit Detroit neighborhoods especially hard. In response, community-based organizations and resident groups have implemented or taken advantage of a range of programs in attempts to stem the damage and help neighborhoods recover. But little if any evaluation of these efforts exists. This project, Formative Evaluation of Community-based Efforts to Save Detroit Neighborhoods from the Blight of Mortgage Foreclosures, will examine previous efforts and develop an initial evidence-based assessment of which projects work for which neighborhoods under what circumstances or conditions. As the research progresses, the researchers will work with Michigan Community Resources and community-based organizations to identify changes that might strengthen the efforts.
Developing healthy neighborhoods
As the Detroit Works Project (DWP) city planning is moving forward, there is need for a systematic, evidence-based method that brings health needs to bear on economic, land use, neighborhood, and capital infrastructure planning in Detroit. Healthy Neighborhoods for a Healthy Detroit: Incorporating Health Impact Assessment into Planning for the Future of Detroit will support a UM-Public Health, Community and Government partnership to undertake Health Impact Assessments (HIA) of key DWP proposed investments, and sharing those HIA studies with leading Detroit community action/non-profit groups, and members of city government. Project principals have already met with the leadership of the DWP and obtained agreement that the HIA findings and recommendations will be incorporated into city planning.
Teens, sexual commerce and micro-enterprise alternatives
The Detroit Youth Enterprise project builds on an ongoing Ford Foundation funded project pertaining to the links between economic need, residential instability and sexual vulnerability among Detroit youth. Research by U-M Public Health, Alternatives for Girls, Ruth Ellis Center and DHDC has underscored the health and violence risks of residentially unstable, and chronically under-employed youth in the city. CARSS is supporting a new complementary project to identify “lessons learned” from promising micro-enterprise projects with urban youth across the USA, and a convening of such projects in Detroit in winter 2012.
Cultivating Community College Success
The UM National Poverty Center is using CARSS support to design a study to evaluate 3 complementary interventions to extend community college enrollments in Detroit. Drawing on successes in NYC and elsewhere, the Improving Outcomes for Community College Success team will partner with Detroit colleges and potential employers to design an evaluation of performance-based scholarships, enhanced counseling, and occupational placements. CARSS is supporting the recruitment of college and employer partnerships, and the collaborative design of the proposed interventions. CARSS is enthusiastic about supporting this project due to its potential to help lower-income Detroit students earn college credentials and transition to the labor market in growing fields such as healthcare and 21st century manufacturing.
Using better data to make better decisions
The Graham Sustainability Center at UM has partnered with Data Driven Detroit to gather sustainability-related data to that, when combined with Data Driven Detroit’s annual geo-coded data on housing, land use, population, crime, traffic and infrastructure, will help guide sustainable redevelopment in the city. While these online data provide accessible, user-friendly maps for public use, the added value of these data to city planners is unknown. To enhance the utility of the data, CARSS is supporting the Driving Detroit Forward with Data project, which includes “hands-on” Workshops that will bring Detroit city planning staff into the shared analysis and presentation of Data Driven Detroit statistical maps to public officials, building local government capacity to use the knowledge, and giving planners the chance to suggest how Data Driven Detroit might improve their value to city planning.
Help for Survivor Moms
The Pregnancy and Traumatic Stress project addresses the problem of stress experienced by some women during pregnancy, with the goal of developing an intervention that provides new mothers with information, skills and social support to help them raise a psychologically resilient child. A first product is currently in development- recording of an audio-play version of the book Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering, and Healing after Sexual Abuse. Next steps for the project include development of a skill-building program in both English and Spanish (including website and downloadable MP3 version) and refinement of the intervention for application and evaluation in different cultural/national settings.
Both science and culture play a role in mental health and mental illness, yet treatment tends to lean heavily toward one perspective or the other. On one hand, the Evidence-Based Practice movement emphasizes the need for a standardization of professional practice. On the other hand, the multiculturalism movement emphasizes the need for diversification. The fundamental challenge lies in accommodating important cultural divergences while adhering to scientifically supported practices and approaches. The Mental Health and Cultural Diversity project explores how, in an increasingly diverse society, practitioners can strike a balance that respects science and culture, and gives clients the benefits of both?
Aging well: it’s academic
Recent indicators suggest that educated people tend to live longer, healthier, and less impaired lives than their less-educated peers; they age more “successfully.” This leads to a widening gap in health disparities over time, based on education. Education & Health in an Aging Society probes this phenomenon. What is it about education (apparently, it’s not just higher income) that provides this protection? And what are the policy implications for today, and for tomorrow’s more demographically diverse aging society?