Community-Academic Research News
September 2019
Detroit URC Board Partner Spotlight: An Interview with Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, MS, Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity, and Chief Wellness and Diversity Officer at Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System (HFHS)
Our featured Detroit URC Board Member for this issue is the incomparable Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, MS, Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity, and Chief Wellness and Diversity Officer at HFHS .  

She is a board-certified emergency medicine physician, Chair of the Gail and Lois Warden Endowment on Multicultural Health, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health. In 2003, she was appointed by then Governor Jennifer Granholm as the nation’s first state-level surgeon general. In 2012 she was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health. 

Kimberlydawn focuses on health care equity, infant mortality, maternal and child health, chronic disease, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits, and tobacco use. She provides strong leadership in diversity, population health, and improving the health of those disproportionately affected by poor health outcomes. She founded the award-winning program – the African American Initiative for Male Health Improvement (AIM–HI) and the Women Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network : Detroit to reduce infant mortality. As Michigan’s surgeon general, she founded the nationally known Generation With Promise program - a youth leadership and empowerment effort now housed at the HFHS. 
Under her leadership, the health system has received numerous awards for its equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, including the American Hospital Association Equity of Care Award in 2015, and No. 2 ranking on DiversityInc’s 2017 Top Hospitals and Health Systems list. Recipient of numerous awards, Kimberlydawn is responsible for hundreds of publications and presentations, appeared on national television, including ABC’s Nightline, and has presented to audiences across the country. In the very little spare time that she has, she has also dedicated herself to becoming an accomplished pianist.

Kimberlydawn recently took time out of her extremely busy schedule to talk about her long history of working with the Detroit URC.

How did you first get involved with the Detroit URC?

I had heard about the Detroit URC initially from my colleagues at U-M and I believe I formally became involved with the Detroit URC in 2007, when I was asked to serve on board after I returned from serving as surgeon general for the state. I was just honored to be invited to serve on the board.

How has serving on the board helped you advance your or HFHS’s mission?

For one, the competencies of the really stellar team of professionals, including Barbara Israel, who is one of the leaders in community-based participatory research (CBPR), around the table is pretty amazing! Understanding CBPR at a deeper level and understanding how it can apply to our work has been one significant way that being involved with the Detroit URC board has been so instrumental and helpful for the HFHS. Having the ability to have those kinds of skill sets right within our own community and obtaining guidance from those types of people on various initiatives has been invaluable!

The CBPR framework has been really instrumental in guiding our community health work to be very intentional about being inclusive -- to listen to the community and to value very diverse team members from anchor and non-anchor organizations. It has just been a great approach.  

Additionally, I would say that HFHS has also benefited from the relationships that we have developed over many, many years, as well as the networking and just the exposure.  

Furthermore, it presents us with many collaborative opportunities. Periodically, I am approached to help get various projects off the ground. The opportunity to identify ways that we can collaborate in deeper and more meaningful ways definitely exists.  

Additionally, my connection to the Detroit URC enhances HFHS’s access to resources. Take, for example, some of the work that Amy Schulz has done regarding walking clubs in Detroit neighborhoods We have sat down with her team and explored it fairly comprehensively. There have been various challenges, for example, needing to write additional grants in order to finance it in the long term. However, we are still in conversation. Sometimes circumstances evolve in a way that shows that the group was just a little bit ahead of their time. We try not to lose sight of that vision and maintain the desire to work together. I am confident that things will ultimately materialize.  

For instance, many of us have been supporting the role of community health workers and the value that they bring. Twenty years ago, when people started talking in that realm, the community health worker model was not embraced. However, now it is seeing a lot of traction. Even the American Hospital Association is publishing some documents around the value that community health workers bring to health care and health endeavors more generally. Whether it is a walking club or a community health initiative, I could see how various efforts could emerge around community health and community benefits.  

Several efforts are kind of at a place where they are evolving. There really could be some strong collaboration, but at the onset, maybe it did not occur. These relationships are for the long term. Even if something does not work out in the short term, I am pretty confident that in the long term, they will work out well. They will be productive and deliver on some significant outcomes.

Is there anything you would add about what you gain from being on the Board?

I enjoy the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the Detroit URC, whether it is talking to the dean of the school or the provost of the university. , I have the opportunity to speak with them, but also I enjoy, as a board member, supporting the Detroit URC because, at my core, I truly, deeply believe in the values of the Detroit URC and I care about the board members and our partnersthe people. It has become a family of sorts. They are just genuinely fantastic people. They are smart and they are caring and it is one of the most enjoyable boards that I have been on because of that. So I very much enjoy advocating for them.  

I remember several years ago, when the 20th anniversary of the Detroit URC was celebrated, Barbara and the rest of the board members invited Dr. David Satcher to speak. When he was at the CDC, he was actually the person who created the whole mechanism of urban research center funding. He established urban research centers across the country.  
Of course he was my mentor when I served as state surgeon general. He has been my mentor since 2003. Of course, he was the 16th US Surgeon General and I was the first state level Surgeon General. I reached out to him shortly after I assumed my post in the Granholm administration to seek his guidance. Being able to reach out to him and have him provide the keynote remarks for the Detroit URC’s 20th anniversary was quite a treat. While I may have contributed to the Detroit URC, I also gained a lot in terms of being able to see him again and hear about how he established urban research centers across the country. It was a win-win across the board. And it was a win for him as well. He was so excited to see the tremendous progress that had been made by the Detroit URC.

When Dr. Satcher was the professor and chairman of the Department of Community Medicine and Family Practice at Morehouse School of Medicine , he invited me to provide the commencement address for his outgoing group of medical students and he then gave me an honorary doctorate from the Morehouse School of Medicine. It was a pleasure to reach out to him on behalf of the Detroit URC and invite him to come and address the attendees and celebrate with us.

For the remainder of the story on Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, click here .
The Detroit URC welcomes Enrique Neblett as new Associate Director 
This September the Detroit URC welcomed a new team member: Associate Director Enrique W. Neblett, Jr., Ph.D., who is also a professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Enrique, who received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan , also holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University (M.S.) and Brown University (Sc.B.).

He recently moved back to Michigan from North Carolina where he served as a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Lab Director of the African American Youth Wellness Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I am delighted that Enrique has joined us as the Associate Director of the Detroit URC,” remarked Barbara Israel, Founder and Director of the Detroit URC. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in establishing CBPR partnerships in Detroit to examine and address the impact of racism on health with an emphasis on improving the health of children, youth and families. In addition, he brings a commitment, passion and innovative ideas to the role of the Detroit URC within the city and the university. I am excited about the opportunities ahead to work together.”

Enrique and his family -- his wife, Nicole Gardner-Neblett, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Psychology, and their two daughters -- have been busy settling into his new community, however we caught up with him in between unpacking boxes and preparing for his new role to ask him a few questions.
Why did you want to be a part of the Detroit URC?

I study the relationship between racism and health and am committed to conducting research and developing collaborations and partnerships that can improve the lives of African American and other racial and ethnic minority youth, and families. I’ve also become increasingly interested in using community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods in my research since I attended the CBPR Partnership Academy in 2015.

The mission of the Detroit URC is consistent with these goals in its focus on social determinants of health, translating knowledge into interventions, programs and policies, CBPR, and promoting health equity. Given the disconnect that often exists between academic institutions and community-based organizations, I wanted to be a part of the solution to help support partnerships that could maximize health and well-being in Detroit.

What do you most look forward to doing here at the Detroit URC, at the University of Michigan, or in Ann Arbor?

What I most look forward to doing at the Detroit URC is building effective community partnerships that will promote health equity around issues pertaining to racism and health in Detroit children, youth, and families. I also look forward to developing, implementing, and facilitating strategies and solutions that can foster, enhance and sustain community partnerships focused on promoting racial equity and mental health in Detroit’s youth populations.

At the University of Michigan, I most look forward to developing an influential program of research and scholarship on racism-related stress and health in African American and racial and ethnic minority populations, with a particular focus on children, families, and communities. I also look forward to teaching, training, and learning from UM’s impressive students and making contributions to the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion mission and initiatives.

In Ann Arbor, I am most looking forward to enjoying good food and attending U-M football and basketball games! 

What do you miss about North Carolina?

I miss friends, family, and the students I worked with. I was very fortunate to have great friends, many of whom were also a part of a smart, fun, inspiring, warm, and supportive university community at UNC. I also was blessed to work with and learn from some amazing students in both my research lab and the classes I taught. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I also miss Asheville, NC, and the beaches!

What has been the most surprising / unexpected thing about your move?

Even though Ann Arbor has changed since I left in 2006, I’ve been amazed by how many of the same establishments, restaurants, and places that we frequented as students (and where I went on dates with my now wife!) are still around. That said, Ann Arbor is much vaster than I knew it as a student! There is so much more to explore now as a father and with my family, and the acts, and speakers that come to town are incredible!
$80K in Grants available for Research Strategies to Prevent and Alleviate Poverty
Are you interested in pursuing collaborative research to examine and address poverty in Michigan? If so, then we invite you to apply for a Research Strategies to Prevent and Alleviate Poverty grant, which is being offered to teams of community-academic partners as part of a joint funding program between Poverty Solutions and the Detroit URC. These grants will support research focused on evaluating and strengthening interventions, programs, and policies in the State of Michigan that seek to prevent and alleviate poverty.
There is a total of $80,000 available to support up to four awards of $20,000 to $25,000 each.

All Projects must equitably involve community and academic partners in all aspects of the research process. Additionally, all projects must be completed within one year (January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020).

In addition to funding, three grantees meetings over the funding period will provide opportunities for grantees to gain an increased understanding of the core components of collaborative research, engage in structured project development activities related to their efforts, and build relationships among their cohort.

Funded projects could include activities designed to prevent and alleviate poverty such as:

  • Evaluation of an existing intervention, program, or policy;
  • Analysis of new or existing data to better understand or strengthen the effectiveness of strategies (e.g., interventions, programs and policies);
  • Development, implementation, and preliminary evaluation of a new pilot program, or an adaptation of an existing program; and
  • Assessment of community needs and strengths/resources that leads to the identification of new strategies.

Poverty Solutions and the Detroit URC are co-administering all aspects of this funding opportunity.

For details about how to apply, visit the Detroit URC or Poverty Solutions websites, or download the 2020 Community-Academic Research Partnerships Request for Proposals here .  

To read the University Record article about this grant funding opportunity, click here .
Two Distinguished Speakers Take the Stage at the CBPR May Symposium
This past May, three cohorts of teams in the CBPR Partnership Academy came together in Detroit for a Symposium to discuss their work, both past, present and future. The teams reflected multiple dimensions of diversity including 18 states, and 2 tribal nations, rural, urban, suburban and island communities with 68% from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in research. 

In addition to bringing together diverse attendees from across the country, this past May’s CBPR Symposium also featured two very distinguished speakers: Al Richmond and Abdul El-Sayed.
Al Richmond , MSW, CCPH, Executive Director, Community Campus Partnerships for Health , founding member and past chair of the Community-Based Public Health Caucus and the National Community Based Organization Network , gave the opening keynote address. Several dozen audience members listened with rapt attention as he discussed “Advancing Equity through Authentic Partnerships”. 

Commenting on his experience giving the opening address at the 2019 CBPR Symposium, Al remarked, “It was such a blessing to be [at the event] and to hear of the amazing work of the partnerships all across the country. It was a great way to end the academic year, and to focus on new work ahead. In many ways it renewed my faith and resolve to promote partnerships as the true way to address the myriad of intractable challenges in all communities”.
Abdul El-Sayed , MD, PhD, Rhodes Scholar, physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist, gave the closing keynote address at the Symposium. His talk, entitled “The Meaning of the Matter: How We Talk About What We Need to Talk About, and Why It Matters,” enthralled Symposium attendees, staff members, and members of the media alike.  

When asked what he hoped people had taken away from his speech, Abdul replied, “When we communicate public health, we have to recognize that our data and empirical evidence are compelling for understanding what we ought to do. However, they’re not always the most useful tool for communicating to folks whom we want to empower through it. We have to be better at telling stories.”

When asked why he agreed to come talk to the Detroit URC’s CBPR Symposium, Abdul responded, “The Detroit URC is a critical bridge between the U-M School of Public Health and the Detroit Community that helps empower both toward their vision. As the Health Director in the City of Detroit, I saw firsthand how important it was as an institution.”  
Intersections in Engaged Research
Researchers and co-investigators from all three U-M campuses convened last week for Intersections in Engaged Research. This interactive event was co-hosted by the Detroit URC, Graham Sustainability Institute , Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR),  Ginsberg Center, and Poverty Solutions . It was also sponsored by Engaged Michigan , the Office of the Provost and the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs , the Office of Research , and the Center for Academic Innovation . The event brought together researchers from diverse departments to share and learn how participants can leverage university resources to maximize our public and community impact.
It featured a wide range of engaged research projects, including action-based research, community-based participatory research, and community-engaged research, among others, taking place with funding and support through internal U-M award programs.

"Engaged research is a critical way in which we live into our mission as a public research institution," said Carrie Luke, Project Manager in the Office of the Provost and a co-planner of the event. "Today's event illustrates how we can leverage expertise from across disciplines in synergistic ways to foster more collective impact."
Attendees learned about resources, funding mechanisms, training opportunities and networks that currently exist on campus. Participants learned from each other, and feedback from the event will inform how internal funders support engaged research on campus.

The event highlighted successful research projects, facilitate conversations on key strategies and lessons learned in the field, and included opportunities for networking.
"I came because I want to support this kind of research, but I also want to see what entities across the university are doing," commented Dr. Barb Brush, the Carol J. and F. Edward Lake Clinical Professor of Nursing, Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing and Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health. "I like that they divided up presentations in terms of what we can we do locally, what can we do in terms of policy, etc. Giving those examples of different kinds of on-going research helps people think about what community engagement means, because it can mean a lot of different things to different people. I’m really happy to see that this event was very well attended and there were community partners here as well as academics."

 MICHR’s Pathway Awards now open!
The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) is offering two funding mechanisms to support U-M faculty and community partners who are planning research projects that address important areas of clinical and translational science and/or community-identified priorities - Pathway to First Grant and Pathway to Independence.
Pathway to First Grant – supports research teams who are just beginning to collect data to inform future projects.

Pathway to Independence – supports teams who need additional data to inform much larger research grant applications and projects.
MICHR provides a maximum of $25,000 for the Pathway to First Grant and up to $50,000 for the Pathway to Independence Award

Applications are open to faculty from all schools and colleges at the University of Michigan (U-M), as well as partners affiliated with community and patient coalitions and groups, nonprofit organizations, government, and other agencies outside U-M.
Applications for the Pathway Awards are due by 5:00 p.m. on October 14, 2019 and must be submitted via UMMS Competition Space . More details about this funding opportunity are available here .
MICHR encourages applications for projects that use different approaches to engaging communities in research. Applicants who are interested in receiving specific guidance related to their approach to community engagement are encouraged to contact the MICHR Community Engagement Program .

For more information on these grants, please click here.  

For all other questions, please email the MICHR Pilot Grant Program at [email protected] .
Two new Research Assistants on the Detroit URC team
Starting this semester, two new masters students in the School of Public Health are joining the Detroit URC team: Akeena Harper, a first year Master’s student in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) , and Adena Gabrysiak, also a first year Master’s student in HBHE and a recent graduate of the U-M School of Kinesiology .   
Akeena, a Detroit native, is a recent graduate (BS, Biology) of Voorhees College in South Carolina. She comes to us by way of Henry Ford Health System , where she worked as a clinical research assistant, providing support for the All Of Us research program . Prior to returning to Michigan to pursue her MPH, she worked in the Jackson Laboratory where she researched chemotherapeutic gene relationships through cross-species analysis.

“Aside from a passion for preventative care, one of my many interests in the field is health disparities in underrepresented areas,” explained Akeena. “I would like to be a part of promoting health equity, especially in underrepresented areas. U-M School of Public Health is the perfect place to gain knowledge and develop the needed skills in the field. I am hoping that working with the Detroit URC will help me to better understand CBPR partnerships, contribute to these partnerships, and develop some of the skills needed to be part of promoting health equity in more ways than one.“
Adena will be working primarily on the Measurement Approaches to Partnership Success (MAPS) project , which aims to develop a clear definition of success in long-standing CBPR partnerships, a specific set of factors that contribute to it, and a practical tool for measuring these factors that others across the U.S. can use to assess and strengthen their own partnership efforts to achieve health equity. Before coming to MAPS, Adena worked as a research assistant in the School of Kinesiology , as an office assistant at the U-M International Institute , and also as a grants intern at KaBOOM! - a non-profit in Washington, D.C.  

“My primary academic interest is the influence of built environment on health behaviors and more specifically, how access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities influence health outcomes,” remarked Adena. “My interest in the Detroit URC stems from my passion for health equity in urban populations, and I am thrilled to be working on the MAPS project.”
Please stop by and say hello to Akeena and Adena if you are at the Detroit URC office.
Our Partners, Affiliates, and Friends in the News

Please join us in welcoming Denise Fair, MPH, FACHE who was recently appointed as the Detroit Health Department’s new Director and Chief Public Health Officer .
Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness and diversity officer for Henry Ford Health System , was recognized as one of six leading health care innovators in the country .
Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) President and CEO, Linda Little, was featured in an article on the Neighborhood Service Organization’s new Clay Center Campus to End Homelessness , as was the Center’s namesake and former CEO of NSO, Sheilah Clay.

Guy Williams, president and CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice , was quoted in several articles recently: one article on how Michigan cities are taking charge of climate change and two articles on Washington Governor and former presidential candidate Jay Inslee’s ' Community Climate Justice' Plan in Detroit.
Direct Relief recently spotlighted the work of J. Ricardo Guzman, an executive consultant to the CEO at Community Health and Social Services Center, Inc. (CHASS) , former CEO of CHASS, founding member of the Detroit URC Board, and the previous Chairman of the Board for the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC).

Natalie Sampson, assistant professor of public health at UM-Dearborn and a member of the Steering Committee for CAPHE , was recently named a recipient of the Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award .  
How can the Detroit URC help you?
Grant Opportunities

The Detroit URC facilitates collaborative research through two grant funding programs: a small planning grant program and pilot grants to explore strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty in Michigan . In both cases, the Detroit URC provides grant recipients with valuable capacity building support and mentoring, through technical assistance and grantee workshops.
Research Network: CAR-Net

The Community-Academic Research Network (CAR-Net) is a virtual entity that involves a broad array of community organizations and academic researchers interested in conducting and disseminating collaborative research in the city of Detroit. The goals are to facilitate information sharing, develop linkages, and provide ongoing support for developing equitable research partnerships.

Policy Advocacy Training

We provide training workshops, technical assistance, and ongoing support to community groups to enhance the capacity of Detroit residents to conduct effective policy advocacy efforts. Our trainings build upon the Neighborhoods Working in Partnership (NWP) program and draws upon the Detroit URC's capacity building, intervention, research and policy experience.

CBPR Capacity Building

We develop and conduct interactive, on- and off-site workshops focusing on a variety of topics related to CBPR aimed at building capacity within communities and institutions (e.g., academic, health departments, health systems, community-based organizations). We also provide technical assistance to new and emerging CBPR partnerships related to developing, maintaining, and sustaining partnerships.
We Want to Hear From You!

Do you have an upcoming event that you would like to publicize? Did you just receive a grant or win an award? Do you have a position that you are looking to fill? 

The Detroit URC is in its 24th year of fostering health equity through community-based participatory research (CBPR), and 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 ; and The University of Michigan Schools of  Public Health Nursing , and  Social Work .