Utilizing a Community-Academic Partnership to Adapt an Evidence-Based Program

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Forming strong partnerships between researchers and community members is an essential component of  translating research into community-level practice. The latest article from the PRC-MI, “Partnering to Translate Evidence-Based Programs to Community Settings: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice,” just published online in Health Promotion Practice, describes the process of forming an effective community-academic partnership resulting in an evidence-based community-level intervention.

The authors describe the partnership between the PRC-MI’s Dr. Alison Miller and Motherly Intercession, a small community-based organization in Flint, Michigan.  Motherly Intercession’s mission is to provide social-emotional and academic support for children of incarcerated parents, particularly mothers, with the goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational incarceration.

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) was developed to address an unmet need in the Genesee County area to provide support to caregivers of children with incarcerated parents. The program promotes family support and socio-emotional growth through 16-weeks of sessions designed to develop the bonds between caregivers and children. The pilot program’s sessions were held in the evening and were structured around a family meal to provide time for the families to communicate and share their common experiences. Transportation and child care were also provided to encourage families to maintain participation over the course of the program.

The article details the partnership experience in developing, executing, and evaluating the SFP and highlights the importance of mutual respect, trust, and communication between the collaborators throughout the process as each group possesses different skills and resources. To adapt the SFP curriculum from an existing evidence-based program, it was necessary to work together to build the resources required to carry out the program including hiring and training staff and developing a database of case information. Evaluation of the SFP sessions and program as a whole was also a crucial step in the collaboration. Feedback from group leaders and participants was used to assess the program so that it could be improved for continued use in the community.

Dr. Miller continues to work with Motherly Intercession, Inc. in evaluating and developing the Strengthening Families Program and other Motherly Intercession interventions.

Article Citation:
Miller, A. L., Krusky, A., Franzen, S., Cochran, S., Zimmerman, M. A. (2012). Partnering to translate evidence-based programs to community settings: Bridging the gap between research and practice. Health Promotion Practice [Epub ahead of print].

Read the full article online ahead of print here:
http://hpp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/04/12/1524839912438749

To learn more about Motherly Intercession: Strengthening Incarcerated Families, visit:
https://prc.sph.umich.edu/research/motherly-intercession/