Three projects proposed by faculty members from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Nursing and College of Education have been awarded Public Service Endowment Grants (PSEG) from a special campus fund designed to boost outreach, extend the campus resources into the surrounding community and enhance the public service mission of the university.
PSEG grants support collaborations between community partners and university scholars to address complex public issues through community-informed projects. Its vision statement calls for the program to emphasize “converting knowledge into readily usable forms for immediate applications.” It is administered by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement.
Aline Gubrium, associate professor of health promotion and policy, and Mary Paterno, assistant professor of nursing, were awarded $15,000 for a project with the Trial Court of Massachusetts to evaluate an existing community-based program developed to build life skills and social support for rural women with opioid use disorder (OUD), and pilot test the effectiveness of adding an additional narrative health promotion component. Other community partners include the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance and Hampshire HOPE.
Jin Kim-Mozeleski, assistant professor of health promotion and policy, is working with Community Action Pioneer Valley on a project to promote food security among low-income persons living in Franklin County by better understanding and addressing needs around nutrition and health. The researchers will conduct a community-engaged, participatory research project in a food pantry setting, to generate knowledge that can be readily applied towards promoting food security in this rural, largely underserved community. They also seek to lay the foundation for creating a community/peer advisory board of food pantry clients who will continue to be invested in solving community-identified issues, thereby sustaining the work of this seed funding. Cheryl L. Dukes, director of healthcare outreach and community engagement in the College of Nursing, is a consultant to the project, which was awarded $14,948.
The proposal, “Youth-Centered Professional Development for Ethnic Studies Teachers: A Partnership of Holyoke Public Schools and UMass College of Education,” submitted by assistant professor Keisha Green and associate professors Laura Valdiviezo and Kysa Nygreen, teacher education and curriculum studies, was awarded $15,000. The researchers will work with the Holyoke Public Schools’ ethnic studies program coordinator and students in the ethnic studies program to design, deliver and evaluate a professional development series for ethnic studies teachers in grades 7-11 over the course of the 2018-19 school year. The series will use a critical youth-centered approach, consistent with the theoretical and epistemological bases of ethnic studies as an interdisciplinary field. In addition to meeting an immediate program need as articulated by the ethnic studies program coordinator, they will conduct research to generate academic knowledge about best practices for preparing and supporting ethnic studies teachers in high-needs districts and the impacts of ethnic studies coursework on students in the program.