Community-Academic Research News
May 2018
Detroit URC Board Partner Spotlight: An interview with Guy O. Williams, President and CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice 
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) envisions Detroit as the global model of a vibrant urban center where all thrive in environmental, economic and social health.
DWEJ champions local and national collaboration, including membership on the Detroit URC Board, to advance environmental justice and sustainable redevelopment. President and CEO Guy O. Williams recently spoke with us about DWEJ’s work and involvement in community-based participatory research (CBPR).

How does your involvement in community-based participatory research with the Detroit URC help you achieve DWEJ’s mission to promote environmental justice?

One of the most important tenants of environmental justice is that people in communities have a voice in governance and key decisions that affect their lives. We feel that CBPR helps ground the research in authentic issues and makes the outcome and the practicality of using that information more likely.

As an organization, DWEJ strives to be a credible source of good science around our issues. Partnering with the Detroit URC and the University of Michigan on these projects strengthens our organization’s work. A great example of this is our most recent opportunities to partner with public health researchers. Last year I worked with Stuart Batterman and Sheena Martenies on research under Community Approaches to Promoting Healthy Environments ( CAPHE) (an affiliated partnership of the Detroit URC). Our ability to participate in this primary research is very important to giving us a credible voice in the policy arena.

How do you use that voice to advocate for policy change?

In environmental laws, typically you have a hierarchy of federal, state, and local law. It’s important to communicate with the elected officials who are making policies and help them to see the impact of the current regulations. If we’re asking for change, we need to be able to show the pros and cons of those changes, and how they can be addressed. So my experience here is that we are more successful when we’re able to back up our arguments with data and research.

Online Course on CBPR: A Partnership Approach for Public Health
A newly-updated online course gives researchers, health and human service practitioners, and members of community-based organizations on opportunity to learn about Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). This approach to research equitably involves community members, organization representatives, and academic researchers in all aspects of the research process.

This course was originally released in 2009. Given its success as a foundational course, updates were made in 2017 for this improved, web-based version.

um3detroit Highlights Community-Academic Partnerships and the Detroit URC and Affiliated Partnerships
On May 3, 2018, faculty, staff, students, and community members gathered at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus to discuss and celebrate partnerships between the University and Detroit.

The program included a highly interactive panel discussion by the Detroit URC titled “Strengthening Community-Academic Partnerships in Detroit” that demonstrated how and why the Detroit URC fosters collaborative partnerships and shares resources.

A short presentation of lessons learned from over 20 years of partnership was delivered by Suzanne Cleage, Director of Neighborhood Growth at Eastside Community Network; Lidia Reyes-Flores, Executive Director of Latino Family Services; and Julia Weinert, Assistant Director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan and former Center Manager of the Detroit URC. The panelists led the participants through a structured networking activity and dialogue about community research interests, including economic mobility, engaged learning, and transportation.

The Detroit URC and affiliated partnerships also presented the following posters at um3detroit:
Above: Lello Guluma, a student intern with the Detroit URC, discusses the Detroit URC poster with conference attendees. 

Upcoming Events
  • The UM Detroit Center will host Beyond the Ivory Tower on June 5th and 6th. This two-day program seeks to enhance, strengthen, and build upon community-university relationships, examine multiple perspectives of community-university relationships, and foster community-university partnerships. The Detroit URC and affiliated partnerships will give presentations at this event. Click here for more information.

  • EPID 783 “Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health” is a one-week course at the University of Michigan that examines core principles, partnership development, and different research methods involved in using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. Instructors include community and academic partners affiliated with the Detroit URC. The course will be held July 23-27, 2018, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in Ann Arbor, MI. Click here for more information about how to apply.
Our Partners in the News
Toward a sustainable Detroit highlights work on sustainability, including contributions from our Board partner, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.

A new campaign from Poverty Solutions aims to reduce foreclosures in Detroit.

DTE permits for Dearborn turbines for Ford site OK’d " includes comments from Amy Schulz, Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Principal Investigator of the CAPHE partnership , along with other members of CAPHE.
As the Detroit URC embarks on its third decade of fostering health equity through community-based participatory research (CBPR), we recognize that this important, collective work is only made possible through the ongoing collaboration among these exceptional partner organizations:  Communities In Schools Community Health and Social Services Center Detroit Health Department;   Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation Eastside Community Network Friends of Parkside Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice Latino Family Services Neighborhood Service Organization Institute for Population Health Henry Ford Health System The University of Michigan Schools of  Public Health Nursing and  Social Work . We have quite a team, and we are grateful.