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Community Engagement as a Methodological Practice Uzo Anucha School of Social Work, York University Metropolis, British Columbia October 22, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Engagement as a Methodological Practice Uzo Anucha School of Social Work, York University Metropolis, British Columbia October 22, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Engagement as a Methodological Practice Uzo Anucha School of Social Work, York University Metropolis, British Columbia October 22, 2009

2 Presentation Outline Community-Engaged Scholarship: –What, Who, Where, Why, and How? The Community-Dialogue Approach Community Dialogue Projects: –The Assets Coming Together for Youth Project –The Ethno-cultural Women and Breast Health Project Discussion –Building a Sustainable, Equitable Community- University Research Partnership

3 Community-Engaged Research Universities and funding agencies are increasingly encouraging community-engaged scholarship in which community partners collaborate in defining the focus and implementation of research. If a university is a repository of knowledge then some of this knowledge should spill over to the neighboring communities. A university should not be an island where academics reach out at higher and higher levels of knowledge without sharing any of their findings Muhammad Yunus

4 Community-Engaged Scholarship Community-engaged scholarship has shifted our views on: –The What, Who, Where, Why, and How of research –Research dissemination –Research impact The scholarship of Engagement means connecting the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic and ethical problems, to our children, to our schools, to our teachers and to our cities.... Ernest Boyer in The Scholarship of Engagement

5 Community-engaged scholarship: A shift in….. What is research? –Traditional research (TR): theory –Community Engaged Research (CER): theory + practice Who does research? –TR: profs and students –CER: profs and students + community stakeholders Where to do research? – TR: university –CER: university + community

6 Community-engaged scholarship: A shift in….. Why do research? –TR: knowledge / understanding –CER: knowledge / understanding + helping / making things better /creating change How to do research? –TR: method –CER: method + dialogue

7 The Community-Dialogue Approach The Community Dialogue Approach (CDA). – CDA re-imagines community engagement as a methodological practice and research as a community dialogue that must fully engage the community.

8 The Community-Dialogue Approach: Two Key Features First – A commitment to extensively involve the community during all phases of the research: –from defining the focus of the research to implementation and dissemination of the research.

9 9 The Continuum of Community Involvement in Research None A Lot Top-down Consultation Collaboration Partnership Community-led TRCER (Adapted from Winer and Ray 2000)

10 Involving the Community – some things to consider: Embrace a broad definition of community and look for ways to widen the margin Develop fundable roles for community members Build capacity within the community - ideally, work yourself out of a job but leave a trace

11 The Community-Dialogue Approach: Two Key Features Second – A commitment to tell multiple stories of the issue / community that is the focus of the research. Multi- methods / multi-focal research: –allows for the inclusion of multiple voices to inform an understanding of an issue under study. –avoids the danger of a single story about an issue / community.

12 Why is a Single Story of a Community so Dangerous? Click here: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com Click here: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com

13 Assets Coming Together for Youth Project

14 The Assets Coming Together for Youth Project The ACT for Youth Project* ( ) brings together a cross-sectoral alliance of community stakeholders and an interdisciplinary network of scholars in a program of research, capacity building, knowledge transfer and evaluation that is focused on developing a comprehensive youth strategy for youth in urban communities using the Jane-Finch community as a case study. * Funded through a SSHRC CURA Grant

15 Two Conceptual Frameworks: Positive Youth Development (PYD): Youth are not problems but assets for their communities Social Justice Approach: A perspective that recognizes that youth in urban communities experience social, political and economical forces such as racism, sexism, poverty, zero- tolerance, unemployment, etc that are toxic to their well-being.

16 ACT for Youth Project Team A cross-sectoral alliance of community stakeholders and an interdisciplinary network of scholars: 31 project team members: –13 community members –15 academic members –3 graduate students 27 community partners –Youth-led / Youth-centred Organizations –Multi-service Community Organizations –Faith-based Organizations –Provincial / National Organizations –Coalitions

17 Governance Structure Partnership Group All project team members, partners, youth reps and students Co-Chairs: Sue Wilkinson (C); Uzo Anucha (A) Youth-led Subcommittee Co-chairs: Jamal Clarke (C) & Alex Lovell (A) Administration Project Manager: Tka Pinnock KM / C Manager: Theon Harrichand Knowledge Mobilization and Communications Committee Co-Chairs: Sue Levesque (C) Gervan Fearon (A) Research Advisory Committee Co Chairs Mwarigha S. Mwarigha. (C) Karen Swift (A) Youth Survey Co-Chairs: Pat H-Blackmore (C) Theresa Knott (A) Youth Voices Co-Chairs: Byron Gray (C) Nombuso Dlamini (A) Youth Econ. Co-Chairs: Marilyn Eisenstat (C) John Graham (A) Reframing Discourse Co-Chairs: Anil Anand (C) Bonny Ibhawoh (A) Evaluation / Monitoring Co-Chairs: Anthony Hutchinson (C) Robin Wright (A)

18 Research Impact and Dissemination: A Mix of TR and CER….. How do we want the J-F community to remember that the ACT for Youth project was there? Changed the conversation / public discourse about youth in the J-F community Increased research skills of youth, community practitioners and students Increased the communitys awareness of how to create pathways to developmental assets for youth Generated local-level data that will inform the communitys selection of tested and effective initiatives for PYD

19 Research Impact and Dissemination: A Mix of TR and CER….. Translated knowledge through youth-focused dissemination forums and workshops arts-based approaches – exhibitions, documentaries published materials such as manuals, guides, curricula, policy-relevant publications; as well as academic books and papers Enriched curriculum in professional and interdisplinary programmes in universities. Trained students who are knowledgeable on how research can be directly linked to policy and action ??

20 The Ethno-Cultural Women and Breast Health Project

21 The Ethno-cultural Women and Breast Health Project Community-based health promotion research project focused on better understanding the barriers and facilitators to accessing breast health in Windsor/Essex County within the context of language and cultural differences. The project focused on ethno-cultural women from continental Africa and Asia (South Asians, East Asians and West Asians) who experience language and cultural challenges. This project was funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Chapter, Community-based research grant

22 Multi-Methods…. In-depth interviews with 80 ethno-cultural women to explore their knowledge of breast cancer; beliefs regarding breast cancer; perceptions of health; and breast screening practices. Sampling criteria included ethno-cultural women from continental Africa and Asia (South Asians, East Asians and West Asians) who were 45 years old or older Interviews were conducted by community liaisons in the first- language of participants, taped with their consent, transcribed verbatim and translated into English. The community liaisons used an interview guide that was focused on illuminating the life world of participants and their personal experiences with breast health and/or breast cancer treatment. Participants were paid a small honorarium

23 Promoting Breast Health for Ethno-cultural Women Findings informed the development of a health promotion workshop to increase the knowledge of women from ethno-cultural communities on breast cancer and the importance of breast screening: we collaborated with community organizations especially, ethno- cultural and religious organizations in hosting and delivering the workshops. we drew on the expertise of members of these organizations in delivering the workshops. workshops were offered in the language that women preferred and in a setting that they were comfortable in. we drew on culturally-appropriate materials to enhance the delivery of the workshops.

24 Promoting Breast Health for Ethno-cultural Women The project partnered with settlement organizations and cultural /religious associations in delivering 18 health promotion workshops (HPW) to 256 women. The objective of the HPW was to provide a safe and culturally appropriate environment for ethno-cultural women to engage in dialogue about breast health Pre and post test evaluation of the workshops indicated that there were positive intervention effects for the women in all areas including general breast cancer and screening knowledge, perceived benefits to clinical breast exams and mammograms, as well as perceived barriers to both clinical breast exams and mammograms

25 Comments and Questions?

26 Discussion: Building a Sustainable, Equitable Community-University Research Partnership

27 For information on our community-dialogue projects, check out our website Uzo Anucha Tel: x


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