COMMUNITY RESEARCH NETWORK Conference
COMMON PROBLEMS, UNCOMMON RESOURCES: Exploring the Social and Economic Challenges to Community-Based Research
COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP SUMMARIES
"A framework for building an alliance between affected populations and the scientific community"
Julie M. Smith (Portland State University, Center for Science Education )
A framework for building an alliance between affected populations and the scientific community. Often times the concerns of populations affected by environmental contaminants are dismissed because of a lack of scientific evidence. Conclusions of government sponsored research leave these populations distrustful when negative results occur. This workshop will present the framework used by the Northwest Radiation Health Alliance (NWRHA), a coalition of Hanford area Downwinders and physicians and scientists from the Oregon chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, to create a scientifically valid epidemiological study of health affects in this population from living in the Hanford area. Jointly they designed and distributed a health questionnaire among a wide network of the affected population and received 800 responses. Results of their data analysis, published in refereed scientific journals, cost a fraction of all other government sponsored research. Because Downwinders were included in each phase of the project, they had greater confidence in NWRHA's results. Workshop activities will include a presentation of the framework and small group activities to discuss how this framework can be improved and fitted to other similar situations.
Borrowing ethical guidelines from clinical research: Can it help us do better community research?
Jessica A. Henry (Virginia Tech)
In this workshop I will present the current ethical guidelines in place for clinical research (Helsinki & Nuremberg codes, and the Department of Health and Human Services regulation 45CFR46) and provide a starting point for thinking about how ethical guidelines can offer a new way of thinking about environmental policy and community research. Workshop participants are encouraged to share their own thoughts and ideas about the relevancy, applicability, appropriateness of applying ethical guidelines intended for clinical research to environmental policy research and community research. The workshop participants will work together brainstorming possible methods to employ ethical guidelines in their research.
"Reality Check: Diverse Communities in the Fight for Welfare Rights"
Clarence Spigner, Sharon Prager & Allen Cheadle
Reality Check, a project of the Washington Welfare Reform Coalition, is comprised of 75 diverse organizations whose purpose is to support policies that sustain welfare rights in Washington State. With partial funding from Seattle Partners for Healthy Communities, over 1,400 low-income families from across WA were contacted to gain insight about experience in WorkFirst, a welfare-to-work program. Seven hundred and eight-six responses revealed the following: (1) low-wage work was generally insufficient to cover basic needs; (2) overall well-being grew worse; and (3) more vulnerable (disabled, low skilled parents, those without childcare) participants struggled harder. This project showed how an organization representing diverse communities was empowered to complete a CBPR assessment of a major public policy initiative; and its community-based approach yielded a grass roots view about a top-down social policy. Reality Check is currently the only effort in the state that both monitors welfare and challenges current state policy.
"Partnering for Outreach to Underserved Communities: Development of Effective Community-Based Research"
Daniel S. Blumenthal and Elleen M. Yancey (Morehouse School of Medicine, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine)
The Morehouse School of Medicine has partnered with inner city and rural minority communities to further the missions of effective education, service, and research. Each year over 20,000 underserved Georgians participate in some 30 programs that train future providers and explore improved approaches to health promotion and disease prevention. The overarching philosophical basis for MSMs community outreach is community empowerment. The workshop session will involve discussion on medical school involvement in partnership with communities, with presentations on education, service, research, and community capacity building. Each presentation will define the goals for the mission discussed, review its methods, successes and failures in pursuing those goals, and offer conclusions and lessons learned. The moderator will present the overarching principles that unify the four missions. The session will offer models to be utilized or modified by other communities and institutions.
"Sharing Resources Through Partnerships: Using an Effective Model"
Therese Turman & Margie Brown (Georgia Tech Research Institute)
This workshop will focus on developing university and community partnerships based on mutual trust. By using Foundations for the Futures Explorers Guild, a forum for k12 teachers to learn about technology and other educational issues, participants will see how university researchers can provide technical assistance to address community needs. The Explorers Guild gives researchers a new way to get involved with the community. The Explorers Guild acts as a liaison partnering the researchers expertise with the community. Researchers must practice interactive listening before drawing conclusions about community needs. This two-way communication enables input from the community to avoid the ivory tower approach to community outreach. To overcome negative perceptions researchers must be consistently responsive, treating community members as clients. Researchers must avoid the culture clash and remain aware of the differences. For the workshop, there will be breakout sessions. Participants will be presented with a challenge, and together will find solutions to overcome the barriers involved. In addition to learning about various challenges, the workshop will address the digital divide, funding, and equipment needs and respond to the interest of stakeholders. The universities and community organizations can work together to make a partnership that opens doors and solves problems. Participants will leave with the tools needed to take advantage of resources available to have a strong university-community partnership.
"Apathy to Engagement: Restoring Democracy through Informed Discourse"
Shelley Stark (Harvard Family Research Project)
This session will engage participants in a roundtable discussion on overcoming barriers to community involvement in the public policy process. Using case profiles from the Harvard Family Research Projects recent evaluation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundations (WKKF) community forums on devolution, the presenter will probe the following with the group: Is the commonly held belief that communities are apathetic to policy issues myth or fact? Is information exchange enough to engage citizens? How can research be harnessed to move citizens from a personal to a public approach to policy? How can research expand the role of citizens in the policy process? What role can citizens play in shaping how policy research is conducted? Drawing on their own diverse experiences, participants will debate responses to these questions and subsequently co-develop a comprehensive list of strategies for engaging communities.
Communication and Ethical Bridges Round Two
"Mutually Beneficial Community/University Partnerships"
Rebecca Thomas & Anita Lyndaker
Description coming soon
"Implementing 'Rites of Passage' in a Rural Community: Opportunities for University/Community Partnerships"
Theresa Montgomery Okwumabua (University of Memphis); Gladys Mabon (Somerville, Tennessee); Richard Settles (Moscow, Tennessee); Mrs. Watson (Southwest Elementary School, Macon, Tennessee)
Although Rites of Passage has been used extensively as a prevention/intervention strategy with urban youth, relatively little is known about its utilization in rural areas. During this workshop, participants will learn how a small rural community partnered with a practitioner/ researcher from the University of Memphis to implement a school-based rites of passage program that aimed to prevent youth from engaging in a host of health and life compromising behaviors. A variety of strategies, including audience discussion and audio-visual presentations will be used in sharing how this program was conceived, developed, and implemented. Challenges facing the community and partnership, particularly as they seek to maintain and extend the program, will be discussed. Workshop participants should gain a great deal about implementing programs in rural communities and how small communities and large institutions can work together effectively.
"Community and University/College Readiness"
Carol Maloney (Prevention and Community Development Program, Woodbury College, VT )
University and community partners will engage participants in a series of workshop exercises and a facilitated discussion designed to evolve a better understanding of the pre-conditions necessary for mutually productive partnerships. The product will be a checklist that can be used in determining readiness by either and both partners. A major component of the college's first-in-the nation program is community-based research internships. Like many academic institutions, Woodbury College wants to establish partnerships with people in communities where these CBR projects take place. Its core premise is to develop and provide college resources in response to the needs defined by community partners rather than predetermined by the expertise and interests of students and faculty. This approach is challenging, fraught with overcoming barriers related to financial resources, staffing, attitude, and power (on the college side) and significant needs and unfamiliar leadership role (by the community).
Bignaraj Routray (Centre for Action Research and Training)
Access and control over Common Property Resources (CPR) by local communities, if it is ensured, then community assets/property can be maintained properly and can be used in productive way for the benefit of the locality. Certain common resources and communities are totally interdependent and the local communities can only efficiently manage certain resources, no outside agency can manage such resources as efficiently as locals can. Unfortunately local communities do not have exclusive proprietary rights over common property resources and inside the community there are disparities in accessibility and availability among the members and principle of equity is not followed. So there is need for Institutional arrangements to transfer the theory of common property resources in to reality. These Institutional arrangements can link community members and resources, translating interest in to claims, claims in to rights.
Communication and Ethical BridgesRound Three
"Creating ethical communities through 'public making.'"
Tim Campbell, Community Resources Development, UW-Extension-Iron County
In a two-hour workshop, 20 people will experience the process of "public making" and learn about a method which creates public dialogue at the grassroots level, explores key concerns/opportunities, develops suggestions which can lead to "public policy," and can provide solid justification for involving "experts" in addressing publicly-identified needs. This method is appropriate for both rural communities and major cities. It addresses the very real need for empowering community members to exercise their rights as citizens to "make choices" or deliberate and thereby demonstrate their ability to address complex issues. It creates positive, versus confrontational, dialogue. Unlike focus and nominal group processes, public deliberation doesn't just generate good ideas, it results in concrete suggestions which can then be converted into actual public policy. The workshop will be based on results from more than five years of application in actual communities and in the classroom as an alternative to lecturing.
"Power Equity for the Underserved: Bring the People to the Table"
Mary Jo Aman & Paulette Bangura , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
This workshop will focus upon two teaching models, the Community Collective Process and the Learning Circles Process, that we have used with grass roots community residents in order to enable them to become researchers and reporters of their own problems, as well as their assets. Learning Circles is an outreach model. Each participant will develop his/her own strategies for research and reporting on an issue from shared experiences and information. Community Collective is a Ujima (collective work and responsibility) model. Participants will work collectively to solve a common problem. Participants will practice using the Covised process to arrive at a consensus around the strategies that ensure the implementation of power equity in the communities, and develop a template of suggestions that guarantee community participation, using research to affect real changes, and to disrupt intellectual property theft
"Civic Coach, Community Advocate or Landscape Translator?"
Annalisa Lewis Raymer
As a person engaged in community-based work-whether as a resident, planner, researcher, educator, social activist or in other roles-are you aware of your own location within a web of or spectrum of community-building work? How is the way your vocational or avocational discipline shapes the way you operate? Who do you need to partner with to expand your own perspective on community work? This roundtable grows out of a series of conversations with placemakers and others reflecting a spectrum from those who cultivate civil society to those who design the material configurations of communities. A typology of practitioners is presented for discussion and roundtable participants are invited to share their own thinking about teaming up with others from different disciplines and experience bases for better community building.
Clarence Spigner (Dept. of Health Services , University of Washington); Carol Allen (Seattle-King County Healthy Homes Asthma Project)
This critical perspective questions the degree that a community-based voice can be heard in the community based participatory research (CBPR) process. Several behaviorally based theories felt inherent within the CBPR approach are explored. What is a community is addressed, followed by a reductionist (focus on the individual with the health problem) vis-a-vis expansionist (focus on the external conditions that cause the problem) view of community-based research. Constructs of individualism and collectivism with regards to attitude and ideology are pointed out. There are inherent contradictions in the CBPR process similar to what Myrdal found in Americas democratic principles due to racism.
"From There to Here: This Black Soil"
Citizens for Social Justice is a
grass-roots community organization which was forced into existence four years
ago as they fought the state's plans to build a maximum security prison in their
front yards. Today, amidst
incredible racism, poverty and classism, the phenomenal leaders of this
community have secured nearly seven million dollars to build a new rural
community village from the ground up. This
comprehensive plan includes the prison site land purchase, building a
sustainable economic base and decent and affordable housing for all of its 114
residents. At this point, over half
of the community's citizens live without running water, plumbing, efficient and
safe heating, or transportation to the few jobs supported by the local economy.
This extraordinary community is one of the rare cases where poor people
have taken complete and unyielding control over their lives. "From there to
here: this black soil" is
a full-length documentary video produced by an advanced video class from Virginia Commonwealth University over the
course of 16 months. The audience,
through the video and discussion, will learn how this work is being done from
the community's perspective. The
producer will speak about community based video work as beneficial, empowering,
and difficult. Other possible
participants for this conference would be students who worked on the video, the
architect, and the financial advisor for the Bayview Community.
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