Steans Center > For Faculty > Engaged Faculty > Community-based Research Faculty Fellowships > CbR Fellows Reports
The project was a longitudinal study of bilingual language and identity development of a group of children at a family-run Spanish Immersion School in the Chicagoland area. Barrera-Tobón and Park-Johnson sought preliminary answers to the following questions:
Researchers recruited 37 of 80 preschoolers to participate in the study. Graduate and undergraduate research assistants worked closely with faculty on recruitment,
data collection, and analysis. During Winter 2018, Professor
Barrera-Tobón taught SPN 391 Sociolinguistics of Heritage Language Literacy where DePaul students directly contributing to the research study. Research questions were defined by all stakeholders and a high degree of rapport with the school led to recruitment of almost
half of the preschool student population. Data collection
involved weekly classroom observations as well as the picture elicitation method.
The Rohingya people are a stateless ethnic and religious minority from Myanmar who have experienced widespread trauma and systematic denial of access to healthcare, education, and other human rights. Approximately 300 refugee families resettled in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago since 2010. The project sought to provide a better understanding of the assets and needs of the community in order to inform future intervention and research in collaboration with the Rohingya Culture Center (RCC). The long-term goals of this research are to expand the organizational and research capacity of RCC and to address health and mental health needs of the Rohingya refugee community through culturally responsive interventions. The research team led by Dr. Saw conducted interviews with service providers, conducted a thematic analysis, and developed a final report to be reviewed by RCC and distributed to agencies serving Rohingya refugee community members. The resarch team members presented on the project at the Asian American Psychological Association conference in August 2018 and the American Public Health Association conference in November 2018.
There are 2.1 million undocumented young people in the United States who were brought to the U.S. as children and who grew up knowing no other country to call home. Research on this population illustrates how they spend their childhood years being socialized into American society without substantive knowledge about their undocumented status. It is often in adolescence that their status becomes a real issue, as undocumented youth experience exclusions from work, travel, and education provisions for the first time (Gonzales, 2016). Despite the significance of this period for undocumented youth development, little is known about how youth understand these first-time experiences and what their psychological impact is.One aim of Dr. Ferrera's project was to examine ways youth with undocumented immigrant status sought to overcome their distinct challenges. A second aim was to draw on our findings to build mental health resources for undocumented youth and mental health, and school practitioners. The project benefited from DePaul student contributions from the course MSW 450 Positive Minority Development: Examining Narratives of Resilience Among Youth of Color. Through the course students were able to develop an understanding of the value of conducting mixed methods research that engages community members.
The inclusion of immigrants in American social welfare policies is deeply contentions, and the degree to which immigrants and their children are provided public benefits – like healthcare, income support, tuition assistance, supplemental nutrition, and housing assistance – varies widely across states and localities. The fellowship funded a community-based study assessing Latino young adults’ needs in the Calumet region,a community with a rapidly growing immigrant population that spans Illinois and Indiana. Because these two states offer very different benefits to immigrant residents, many young Latino adults in the region have different access to services, despite living in the same cultural and economic context. Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews, conducted in partnership with Calumet College of St. Joseph and other community organizations and DePaul students, Dr. Congdon assessed the educational status of the Latino young adult population in Calumet and examined the relationship between policy inclusion provisions and subjects’ educational and economic circumstances, and civic engagement.
The Fellowship supported collaboration with the nonproft organization Cara to evaluate the effectiveness of job skills training for individuals experiencing homelessness. The study explored how a career counseling intervention impacts employability, hope, well-being, use of strengths, and employment.
The research questions guiding this study were:
Dr. Michel and her graduate assistant collaborated with Cara to design a Community Based Participatory Action Research (PAR) project to evaluate this training. Students enrolled in CSL 454 Career Counseling during the winter and spring 2018 contributed to the project and learned how to evaluate a career counseling intervention with individuals experiencing homelessness. The research was presentated at the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NCACES) conference in October 2018.
Childhood obesity is a serious health condition affecting approximately one in three children in the United States (American Heart Association, 2010). Disproportionately affecting African Americans, obesity is both a condition of poor health behaviors and social inequality. The research illustrated the importance of examining the role of culture, environment, and social norms in shaping health behaviors and outcomes in African Americans parents and children. The study included focus groups and survey data from self-identified African American parents/guardians. Participants were recruited from a charter school in Chicago which serves a largely low-income African American population. In examining childhood obesity from cultural and socio-ecological perspectives, researchers are able to inform the development of culturally-tailored childhood obesity interventions to reduce the disparity and contribute to the positive growth and development of future generations.
The primary objectives of the study were:
The CBR project was integrated into the course PSY 353 Abnormal Psychology during the spring of 2017. The team presented the project at the Society for Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference in April of 2018.
The project sought to address the following questions: What concrete experiences compel people of faith to be in solidarity with people who have been detained on the grounds of their immigration status? How, if at all, do these experiences widen the moral imagination? And how may religious faith inform this process?
These questions were exploredin a collaborative project with the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI). The aims of this community-based research project included a) enhancing the mission of ICDI, b) enhancing classroom and community-based pedagogy, and c) contributing to community-based research. As the name suggestions, the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants is a Chicago-based non-profit, faith-based organization of staff and volunteers called to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of all individuals and communities affected by immigration detention, deportation, and post-detention through pastoral care, advocacy, public witness and other activities. The project intends to advance research on community-engagement projects related to ICDI.
The purpose of this study was to improve and standardize existing health education efforts at a Chicago middle school in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The goal was development of an evidence-based health education curriculum addressing the needs identified by the Student Standards Health Education Assessment Project, U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the director, the faculty, and the staff at the middle school. The health education curriculum was developed around eight identified areas and incorporated evidence-based research in both format and content in order to keep middle school students engaged and deliver relevant material. The program has the potential to increase the health literacy of students and offer them tools to positively impact their health behaviors. As a component of the study, nursing students were assigned to develop and teach lessons about teen health to the middle school students.
This research defines a structured methodology for security risk self-assessments, aimed at small, community-based organizations with limited resources. Our community partnering organization on the project has been Healthcare Alternative Systems (HAS).
This research project essentially has four components:
The first two quarters of this academic year were spent on developing the questionnaire in partnership with HAS. As part of the work with HAS, there were multiple rounds of question development, feedback on the language and reasonableness of each question, and revisions. With each round of feedback, the questionnaire was ‘tweaked.’ Early revisions were based on making the language clearer and shortening the questions. There are now 70 questions across 8 domains (topic areas). During the winter quarter, we also accomplished the second component of this research project: developing a scoring method based on an organization’s results. In the spring, I submitted a paper to the ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) conference, purported to be among the top academic conferences on nonprofit organizations. On June 17, 2015, a colleague and I submitted a conference paper to HICSS (Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences).
The project sought to explore the processes of recruitment and engagement of youth within the YHSC program. Dr. Ferrera partnered with CAAAELII (Coalition for African, Arab, Asian, European, and
Latino Immigrants of Illinois) and Centro Sin Fronteras to conduct surveys and in-depth semi-structured interviews with YHSC participants who were asked to reflect on their experiences in the program and its impact on family and
community. They were asked to describe their engagement with the community and discuss the role
the program plays within the context of their development and personal
challenges. Findings of the the study were presented in at the annual Health Disparities and
Social Justice Conference at DePaul University in February 2014, which focused
on health disparities in the Latino community. In March 2014, findings from participant narratives were presented at
the Global Cafe Event themed "Women Empowerment", sponsored
by the World Engagement Institute in collaboration with the School of
Public Service at DePaul.
The project partnered with a service provider to design a survey about sexual assault survivors’ use of alternative therapies. Researchers consulted with experts on the treatment of sexual assault survivors in designing the survey, and pilot tested the survey with the same experts. The survey was distributed to sexual assault survivors resulting in 210 responses. Interviews were conducted with 30 of the respondents. The project was integrated into research methods and statistics courses and was presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference in Dallas, Texas.
The project was conducted in partnership with Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) to better understand stressors related to food service work. Dr. Lippert held a series of focus groups representing workers from various types of food services establishments from fast food to fine dining in a range of positions from management, front, and back of the house. Students of the MPH 512: Research Methods course participated in qualitative data analysis of the focus group transcripts. Each student was given a copy of one of the focus groups to read prior to class and instructed to highlight any interesting statements or phrases. Students were then asked to work in small groups working on the same focus group to generate a list of themes based on the codes. The analysis was used to inform the final data analysis by the research team. The research team presented at the Health Disparities and Social justice Conference at DePaul University. In addition, Dr. Lippert's graduate assistant presented a poster based on their findings at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver, Colorado.
For the past three decades, scholars have studied
neighborhoods’ collective responses to crime. While there is broad agreement
amongst scholars that crime can be prevented by collective action, few
researchers have explored how to design technologies that influence collective
action against crime. Such research is particularly important in low income,
high crime neighborhoods. This lead us to the research question: How do we
design technologies that support the building of social and political capital
in low income communities and build a technological solution to enable local
residents to collectively address crime by building relationships with each
other, identifying problems, brainstorming solutions, and connecting to
organizations and government institutions that can help. Partnering with the
Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community), we conducted an ethnographic study with
local residents to understand their values, motivations, and desires as it
relates to crime prevention in their neighborhood. We then designed, built, and
evaluated a technological solution that increases social capital and digital
connectedness amongst local residents in Woodlawn. Results from the study helped
us extend crime prevention theories such that they better reflect the role that
technology plays in today’s society. Furthermore, by exploring online
communications about crime in racially diverse communities that have be
selected on the basis of high and low crime rates, scholars can begin to
understand the relationship between online and in-person communication.
By Suzanne Carlberg-Racich
Injection drug users (IDUs) are a
disenfranchised population that experiences constant stigma associated with being labeled a “drug user”
and thus, a less legitimate member of society (Ware,
Wyatt & Tugenberg 2005). This stigma has vast implications and is
associated with poorer health – both physical and mental (Ahern, Stuber &
Galea 2007). This project served IDUs through a partnership with the
Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA), a comprehensive harm reduction program that
works to counteract the stigma and disenfranchisement of IDUs through harm
reduction service delivery. The aim of this project was to capture the meaning
of harm reduction in the voices of those who use the services, through
community-based participatory research. Specifically, CRA participants were engaged
in a photovoice project, in which they shared the value of harm reduction
through photography and the creation of a shared narrative. The photos and
narrative were shared with national partners with the aim of using the material
to give IDUs a voice in the advocacy process, by allowing them to tell the
story about the critical importance of harm reduction in saving and improving
Crabtree-Nelson (Social Work)
This research project was a joint collaboration between Arab American Family
Services (AAFS) in Bridgeview, IL and the researcher. The project aimed to
explore the issue of domestic violence in the Arab American and Arab Immigrant
populations. The specific focus was on the experience of domestic violence
among the women who receive services from AAFS. The experiences and needs of 25
clients and 5 staff were explored in order to both better shape the services
offered as well as provide support for future agency funding and community
education. Current research indicates a
lack of attention to the specific service provision needs that the Arab
community in the United States has in relation to domestic violence services.
This project aimed to add to the literature surrounding the specific needs of
Arab American and Arab Immigrants in the US who are seeking domestic violence
Bruce (Health Sciences)
and marginally housed young men who have sex with men (YMSM) face multiple
adversities in their lives and exhibit significant health disparities compared
to other persons their age, including stably housed lesbian game and bisexual
youth (Cochran, Stewart, Ginzler, & Cauce, 2002; Gattis, 2009). In order to
better understand how this population responds to the adversity in their lives,
the proposed study studied resilience among homeless and marginally housed YMSM
using community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods. The study
reflected a participatory collaboration between the Broadway Youth Center (BYC)
a division of Howard Brown Health Center and the Community Health Research and
Evaluation Group (CHREG) at DePaul focusing on innovative methods to assess
health among one of BYC’s target populations.
By Maria Ferrera
care reform efforts, the Affordable Care Act still leaves 11 million
undocumented immigrants in the United States uninsured. One of the eight states
that houses the bulk of these immigrants is Illinois - many of them Latino and
densely populated in Chicago. Utilizing a community-based participatory
resesarch (CBPR) approach, this study examined the impact of a program that is
trying to address the healthcare dilemma of uninsured, new immigrants within
Chicago’s new immigrant communities. The community-based, non-profit agency,
Centro Sin Fronteras (CSF), has taken the lead on initiating the Youth Health
Service Corps (YHSC) within two Chicago high schools embedded in these
predominantly Latino, new immigrant communities. With the support of a group of
teaching hospitals and clinics, led by Rush Medical Center, YHSC hopes to train
high school aged students to provide education and pre-screening to thousands
of people for Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart Disease, Breast and Prostate
Cancer and HIV/AIDS. Each member of the Corps will commit to bringing 10
members of their families, neighbors and friends through the pre-screening
process and provided those opportunities to enroll in diet and exercise programs
at participating churches. Centro Sin Fronteras worked to develop this model
for four years, developing instruction and screening protocols with Rush
Medical Center. This study examined the impact
of this YHSC program, utilizing a mixed methods approach that surveys and
interviews the high school students enrolled
in YHSC, the friends and family who they have provided outreach to, and
the medical professionals and organizational staff that have established and
facilitated the program. Considering social network theory and utilizing frame
analyses that engages neighborhood narratives (Small, 2002), this study
examined the impact of networks among new immigrant youth in Chicago on the
health behaviors and access to healthcare among Latino families in their
project was a proposed community partnership with the Healthy Washington
Heights Coalition (HWH). The overarching goal was to aid the efforts of Washington
Heights residents who are striving to develop habits that lead to a healthier
quality of life. Specifically, during a three-month period, utilizing two-way communication,
participants engaged in journaling and monitoring their food intake and
physical activity in an effort to consciously process their daily habits for the
purpose of making changes that lead to overall enhanced quality of life.
By Euan Hague and Winifred Curran
This project was a partnership with the Pilsen Alliance to collect, analyze,
and disseminate data on housing, jobs, and health as part of a community
planning process surrounding the future of the Fisk power plant site, which was
scheduled to be closed in September 2012. We used data collected by students in
GEO 133 Urban Geography Experiential Learning, a community-based service
learning class, to tell the story of urban change in Pilsen from 2004, when our
collaboration began, to the present. Ideas about future development and urban
planning, developed by students in GEO 103: Urbanization, GEO 333: Urban
Planning and GEO 339: Topics in Architecture and Urbanism will be used to
stimulate discussions at community meetings in Pilsen. This project was an
attempt to create a sustainable and socially just vision for Pilsen, one that
allows for the preservation of this historically working-class immigrant
Dush (Word, Rhetoric, and Discourse)
This project was designed to explore how personal, digital
stories can prompt social action. Students ran an on-campus digital
storytelling training workshop as their service, teaching charter school
parents and teachers how to produce digital stories expressing their values
about and priorities for education. These were then inserted into public spaces
– both face-to-face and online – where the stories may prompt different forms
of social action
By Cathy May
This project examined the economic sustainability of urban
community gardens for employment purposes. Cathy May and her students conducted
interviews with a number of community gardens in Chicago to analyze and assessed
their strengths and weaknesses and employment initiatives.
By Steffanie Triller
(School for New Learning)
The goal of the Community Writing Project was “to provide
a forum for creative expression in which people can share their experiences,
examine their lives, and become recognized within their communities as writers
and leaders.” Triller examined how the Community Writing Project encouraged its
participants to develop stories through writing. She sought to advise the
Project on best practices as the organization encourages the presence of
writing and civic engagement in all Chicago neighborhoods.
By Neil Vincent (Social
This study explored the strengths and needs of
perpetrators of intimate partner violence who successfully completed group
services and the extent to which they remain nonviolent in the months after
program completion. Using grounded theory, 30 perpetrators were asked to
participate in a semi-structured interview. Findings were disseminated through
peer reviewed journals as well as community forums.