Summer 2021 Newsletter
The Detroit URC hopes that you have stayed safe and healthy in the past year! We are committed to working toward health equity and social justice in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Detroit URC partners and affiliated partnerships who are working on the ground in Detroit and beyond throughout the pandemic. Learn more in this newsletter about the role of the Detroit URC and our affiliated partnerships and partners and how we have continued to use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach during COVID-19 and what we have been up to since 2020!
2021 Virtual Networking Social
Thank you to those who were able to join us for the Detroit URC Virtual Networking Social on May 11, 2021 - an event that seemed impossible a year ago but went off without a hitch! Special thanks to all of our partners who served as facilitators and our incredible Emcee, Orlando Bailey.

We were delighted that many of the attendees met people with similar research interests, and that the gathering helped to spark productive conversations about potential collaborations.

Contact us if you’d like assistance in fostering a dialog with a potential research partner. We can set up meetings, provide training and mentorship for conducting community-based participatory research, put you in touch with relevant members of the Community-Academic Research Network (CAR-Net), and/or help guide you in the step-by-step process of pursuing a possible new partnership and project. We look forward to working with you in this capacity. 

Save May 11, 2022 in your calendar for the next Networking Social at the Rooster Tail, a premier event venue in Detroit! More information to come.

CBPR Partnership Academy
CBPR Partnership Academy- 4th Cohort
Launching 22 Community-Academic partners from across the country into the CBPR Partnership Academy

We are excited to announce the extension and launch of the 4th cohort of the Detroit URC’s CBPR Partnership Academy with a week-long intensive course that was held in July 2021. Twenty-two (22) individuals in eleven (11) community-academic teams were selected to participate in the yearlong training and mentoring program designed for new community-academic partnerships that are interested in learning about and engaging in a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to eliminate inequities in their communities. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this year’s cohort spans 10 states including Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington D.C. The cohort teams’ projects cover a variety of health topics such as COVID-19 inequities, urban farming, healthy playing surfaces, and doulas. These teams represent cross-sector disciplines and organizations including public health, engineering, urban planning, clergy, and environmental sciences. 

This year the week-long course was conducted through Zoom, with highly interactive sessions facilitated by community-academic instructors on using a CBPR approach at all stages of the research process. Topics included: CBPR Principles, Racism & Inequities, Mixed Methods, Innovative Research Designs, Focus Groups, Survey Methods, , Translating and Disseminating Findings, Ethical Research, and Evaluating CBPR partnerships. Informal social and question time throughout the week provided opportunities for discussion and networking. Participants expressed many benefits gained from the course, including learning from other participants, the well informed and expert instructors, and hearing the real CBPR lessons that the Detroit URC and partners have learned from experience. At the end of the week, participants expressed eagerness to apply what they learned in their own communities: “I look forward to working closely with my partners to build a sustainable partnership.” As another participant said, “I am excited about becoming a CBPR champion in my organization.” 

Over the coming year teams will meet regularly with their peers and a community academic mentor team as they develop their partnership in their community. Ongoing learning opportunities include writing a small planning grant with their partner and participating in online forums on more in depth CBPR topics and strategies. Look for news of their accomplishments in future newsletters!

Partners & Partnership Accomplishments
Friends of Parkside Health, Safety & Job Fair 2021
Health, Safety & Job Fair 2021 Volunteers
Friends of Parkside had their annual Health, Safety and Job Fair on July 21. This event successfully connected the Parkside community with Detroit organizations that promote health. Participants had the opportunity to speak with community representatives, get vaccinated for COVID-19, and enjoy lunch and outdoor activities for the whole family. After the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the pandemic, this year’s fair was conducted outside and in cooperation with local guidelines. Friends of Parkside has been a partner and Board member organization with the Detroit URC since the Board’s inception in 1995 and the organization’s leader Zachary Rowe has been a huge proponent of CBPR projects in Detroit and beyond. Zachary adds, “This year's health fair would not have been possible without our wonderful sponsors: Mercy Primary Care Center, Detroit Health Department, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, MI-CEAL, Oak Street Health, Community Based Crime Reduction. And special thanks to Marie O'Neilll, Don'aa Williams, Patricia Piechowski, Jamie Villalobos, Kate Goold, and the Detroit Housing Commission.” Thanks to Zachary and Friends of Parkside for all you do!
Participatory Action for Access to Clinical Trials (PAACT)
Dr. Evelyn Jiagge of Henry Ford Health Systems
Dr. Barbara Brush of UM School of Nursing and Detroit URC Board member
Welcome to Participatory Action for Access to Clinical Trials (PAACT), a collaboration between the Detroit URC and the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, with the overarching aim to improve African-American and other minorities’ representation in cancer clinical trials. Led by Principal Investigators Drs. Evelyn Jiagge and Barbara Brush, the partnership brings together community- and faith-based organizations, health and human services agencies, and researchers using a CBPR approach to understand and overcome obstacles in cancer research and health systems. So far, PAACT has completed a comprehensive review of the literature and data available to help develop strategies for their intervention. PAACT is currently conducting interviews and focus groups with community residents, cancer patients, and health care providers that will lead to development of strategies responsive to community concerns that address barriers to inclusive research, and ultimately reduce the high toll of cancer on Black and African Americans. PAACT is supported by a grant from Genentech. For more information on the project, email the PAACT Project Manager, Eliza Wilson-Powers at [email protected].
American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
Our Partners, Affiliates, and Friends in the News
A number of community and academic partners involved in the Detroit URC are members of a recently developed CBPR partnership known as Michigan Community Engagement Alliance (MI-CEAL): Communities Conquering COVID, funded by the National Institutes of Health. See the MI-CEAL News section for examples of the work of the partnership. Here are some short reports produced by the MI-CEAL quantitative team on vaccine uptake in Detroit: Vaccinations and Trust in Information, Attitudes toward Vaccines in Households with Children, and Detroiters’ Support for Vaccine Requirements.

Ilima Ho-Lastimosa, MSW MoA, Executive Director of God’s Country Waimānalo in Hawai‘i and Jane Chung-Do, DrPH, an Associate Professor in Community and Translational Research at the University of Hawai‘i at the Mānoa Department of Public Health Sciences in Honolulu, are a community and academic team from the 2016 cohort of the CBPR Partnership Academy. They recently presented on indigenous food systems in rural Native Hawaiian communities through backyard aquaponics. Check out the presentation here.
Detroit URC New Additions
Welcome Center Manager, Katie Corbit!
We are delighted to welcome and provide an introduction to Katie Corbit, MPH (she/her) the new Center Manager for the Detroit Urban Research Center. Katie worked as a Research Assistant with the Detroit URC while she was completing her MPH from U-M School of Public Health, Health Behavior Health Education program (2018-2020). Katie has over 6 years of experience working with non-profit organizations in Kalamazoo, MI. Previous experience includes developing monitoring and evaluation plans for direct service programs, supervising a maternal child health home visitation program, and managing a $3.5 million collective impact initiative. For more of her work history, please see her LinkedIn profile.
Detroit URC Research Assistants
Sophia Simbeni is a second year Masters of Public Health in the Health Behavior Health Education department. Her research interests are urban health, women’s health, and the social determinants of health. Her favorite dessert is chocolate lava cake!
Nia Holland is a second year Masters of Public Health student in the Health Behavior Health Education department. Her research interests are community-based participatory research, influences of social determinants on urban health, mitigation of health disparities, and the impacts of racial socialization on Black mental health outcomes. Her favorite dessert is frozen yogurt!
Haley Crimmins is a second year Masters of Public Health in the Health Behavior Health Education department. Her research interests are urban health, community-based participatory research, and the social determinants of health. Her favorite dessert is tiramisu!
Natalie McGuire is a senior majoring in Spanish and Philosophy. Her research interests include immigration and mental health. Her favorite dessert is red velvet cake!
Partners and Colleagues on the Move
Congratulations to Sherita Smith, MPA for her new role as Vice President of Community Development at Cinnaire. Smith served as community engagement director for Eastside Community Network, executive director of First Independence CDC, fund development director for Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, and most recently executive director at Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation. A Detroit native, Smith has more than 18 years’ experience in community development in Detroit with expertise in leadership, program development, strategic planning, fundraising and communications.
Congratulations to Carol Gray for starting a new position at Michigan Medicine as the Michigan Social Health Interventions to Eliminate Disparities (MSHIELD) Program Manager. We thank you for your numerous contributions, energy and dedication as the Detroit URC Center Manager over the past six years.
Congratulations to Megan Jensen for starting a new position at Michigan Medicine as a Research Area Specialist Project Manager in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. We thank you for your incredible work and commitment as the Measurement Approaches to Partnership Success (MAPS) Project Manager over the past five years.
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