Space Scouts: A collaboration between university researchers and African American churches
Space Scouts, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and produced by the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH), is a three-episode series of media tools designed to teach fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade children from African American churches about the science of drug addiction. This article examines the effectiveness of the principles of practice for community-based participatory research used to create Space Scouts. Academic researchers at MIMH collaborated with an inter-faith agency-Committed Caring Faith Communities (CCFC)-and solicited feedback from members of the target audience, their pastors, and other church staff, substance abuse researchers, and curriculum development specialists in order to ensure that the final program would meet the needs of all involved parties.
Available from: Mona M Shattell
- "The majority of studies reviewed here focused on mental health issues among adults, while just two studies (Epstein et al. 2007; Mulvaney-Day et al. 2006) included a focus on children. Epstein et al. (2007) developed Space Scouts to teach children about drug abuse through their churches, and Mulvaney-Day et al. (2006) worked with schools to obtain information that could be used to create an intervention to improve behavioral and academic functioning of minority students. CBPR methods could provide an effective approach for addressing mental health issues among minority youth, particularly because of the need to reduce ethnic disparities in access to child mental health services (General 2000). "
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ABSTRACT: In this review, a synthesis of studies employing community-based participatory research (CBPR) to address mental health problems of minorities, strengths and challenges of the CBPR approach with minority populations are highlighted. Despite the fact that minority community members voiced a need for innovative approaches to address culturally unique issues, findings revealed that most researchers continued to use the traditional methods in which they were trained. Moreover, researchers continued to view mental health treatment from a health service perspective.
Available from: Roslyn Arlin Mickelson
- "MSEP was built on a foundation of community organization and development theory and practice (Fisher, 1994; Foster-Fishman et al., 2001; McKnight, 1995; Rivera & Erlich, 1995). We expanded upon this theoretical and experiential foundation with knowledge about working with non-white and low-income communities (Dryfoos, 1994; Epstein et al., 2007; Ewalt, Freeman, & Poole, 1998; Moses & Cobb, 2001). The broad literature of community collaboration and school-family-community partnerships (Cousins, Williams, & Battani, 1998; Epstein, 1995, 2001; Fisher; Fisher & Karger, 1997; Gutierrez, 1997; Moses & Cobb; National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, 2003; Perry, Steele, & Hilliard, 2003; The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007) suggest the following action research approaches: consider a community's social, cultural, economic, and political characteris- • tics in contemporary and historical contexts; include indigenous and official community stakeholders and leaders in devel- • opment and implementation activities; employ an empowerment model that builds on the strengths of partici- • pants; resist " top down " approaches in which social service agency experts or aca- • demics unilaterally control and enforce programs for community residents; and, take into account the social and cultural norms and interests that motivate • and give meaning to the lives of people in whose communities change is sought. "
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ABSTRACT: This article reports the challenges of race and social class in an action research project to facilitate educational change through community collaboration with African American parents, community organizations, and public schools. This project was undertaken in Charlotte, North Carolina to enhance the participa-tion of African American parents in their children's math and science course selection and placement in middle and high school. Focusing on the commu-nities of three high schools and their feeder middle schools, this article reports important lessons and outlines strategic implications for future work in the intersection among African American communities, public schools and educa-tion, and universities.
Available from: Sidney H Hankerson
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ABSTRACT: African Americans underutilize traditional mental health services, compared with white Americans. The authors conducted a systematic review of studies involving church-based health promotion programs for mental disorders among African Americans to assess the feasibility of utilizing such programs to address racial disparities in mental health care.
A literature review of MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and ATLA Religion databases was conducted to identify articles published between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 2009. Inclusion criteria were as follows: studies were conducted in a church; the primary objective involved assessment, perceptions and attitudes, education, prevention, group support, or treatment for DSM-IV mental disorders or their correlates; number of participants was reported; qualitative or quantitative data were reported; and African Americans were the target population.
Of 1,451 studies identified, only eight met inclusion criteria. Five studies focused on substance-related disorders, six were designed to assess the effects of a specific intervention, and six targeted adults. One study focused on depression and was limited by a small sample size of seven participants.
Although church-based health promotion programs have been successful in addressing racial disparities for several chronic medical conditions, the literature on such programs for mental disorders is extremely limited. More intensive research is needed to establish the feasibility and acceptability of utilizing church-based health promotion programs as a possible resource for screening and treatment to improve disparities in mental health care for African Americans.
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