CE Bridges – Special COVID-19 Edition

Erica MarshDear friends,

MICHR Community Engagement (CE) organized three virtual events for this fall. Please be sure to register for at least one! We miss seeing you and look forward to reconnecting via Zoom.

  1. Clinical & Translational Science Award (CTSA) Roadshows: Get updates on MICHR’s grant renewal with the NIH and provide input on CE’s priorities. RSVP for one of two forums: Wednesday, September 23 or Monday, September 28.
  2. Building Capacity for Research and Action – 2020 Meet & Greet: 13 study teams, which are comprised of community and academic partners conducting research that exemplifies Flint’s resilience, will showcase their progress, potential impact, and reflections to the general public, funders, and leadership within MICHR and the Flint community. Register today to join us on Friday, September 18.
  3. Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers in Translational Research Retreat: This year is our third anniversary, and we have a special program planned that makes the most of our remote format. Don’t forget to save your seat for Tuesday, October 13.

Monetary compensation will be provided to community partners attending the roadshows and/or the retreat, but we hope that you will join us for the other benefits our work can have in your community and research.

Until then, stay healthy, safe, and in touch.

Yours in partnership,

Erica E. Marsh, MD, MSCI, FACOG
Director, MICHR Community Engagement
S. Jan Behrman Collegiate Professor of Reproductive Medicine
Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
University of Michigan Medical School
Associate Professor, Department of Women’s Studies,
University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

MICHR Develops Informational Flyer Series on Vaccines

CE partnered with the onWHARD Collaborative to publish the first in a series of flyers aimed at community education on the topic of vaccines in preparation for COVID-19 trials coming to Michigan Medicine and in hopes of encouraging underrepresented communities in research (i.e. communities of color) to participate in the process.

“We want a vaccine that works for everyone,” said Dr. Erica E. Marsh, MD, MSCI, FACOG, Faculty Director of Community Engagement at MICHR. “That means our communities need to be fully informed prior to deciding on participation in its development through trials.”

The flyers, which are available in English and Spanish, have been picked up by UMHealthResearch.org. The series will culminate in a virtual town hall hosted by MICHR this fall.

“Now is a critical time in history. We need communication to flow between our program and the communities we partner with in research,” said Tricia Piechowski, MPH, MSW, MA, Program Director of Community Engagement at MICHR. “Disseminating quality and accessible information is necessary to ensure that our communities are making informed decisions around vaccines.”

Combating Stigma Associated with Opioid Use Disorders in Metropolitan Detroit

Simultaneously addressing the COVID-19 and opioid epidemics sweeping the United States may threaten and further marginalize vulnerable and at-risk populations dealing with substance use disorders. Isolation, economic hardship, and barriers to accessing services, treatment, and medication are only a few challenges this community faces. Additionally, stigma and discrimination associated with drug use and lack of trust in healthcare providers discourages people in need from seeking medical care.

The Detroit Area Mental Health Leadership Team, a community-engaged research partnership with MICHR, collaborated with community-academic partners in Metropolitan Detroit to develop an advocacy brief examining the impact of stigma in cases of opioid use disorder (OUD) and recommend public health approaches to re-designing recovery services during the pandemic. It’s their hope that, as we collectively work to affect change in this area, this brief will stimulate conversation and action among health care, academic, governmental, community, and funding organizations to address gaps in knowledge and care.

Community Recommendations

The advocacy brief can be accessed here. Feel free to contact Karen Calhoun, Community-Engaged Research Officer at MICHR, with any questions or comments. She can be reached directly at kdcalhou@umich.edu or by phone at 313.632.9932.

Community Voice on the Flint Water Crisis

Community Voice on the Flint Water CrisisSaturday, April 25, marked the sixth anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis, a public health emergency that exposed residents to lead in the city’s water system. Residents continue to grapple with lasting effects from the crisis. They remain afraid to use the municipal water supply for drinking, cooking, or bathing. This, compounded by COVID-19, further highlights the plight of marginalized communities of color like Flint, Michigan. Fear and trust are prevailing themes within this empowered, resilient community addressing the water crisis and pandemic.

A study led by community-academic partners, using community-based participatory research approaches, was conducted over several years to discern levels of trust within Flint from the water crisis and ensure missing voices not presented in numerous narratives are captured. Findings were organized into a report containing a needs assessment and action plan on recommendations, which are applicable to both the pandemic and water crisis.

It is their hope that, as you review their report, you will consider joining their collaborative by using this information to help Flint residents build trust and obtain the quality of life they are entitled to.

Click here to access the trust study and executive summary. Feel free to contact Karen Calhoun, Community-Engaged Research Officer at MICHR, with any questions or comments. She can be reached directly at kdcalhou@umich.edu or by phone at 313.632.9932.

COVID-19 Impact: A Parental Perspective Survey

COVID-19 Impact: A Parental Perspective SurveyMICHR’s CE program published an online survey to explore the effect of COVID-19 on families, focusing primarily on challenges facing minor children through a parent’s perspective. We are seeking participants that fulfill the following criteria:

  • 18+ years of age
  • A Michigan resident
  • Primary parent/guardian of one or more minor children (0-17 years of age) living in your home

If you match this profile, please consider spending the next 20-30 minutes completing our survey and/or sharing it with other members your network.

This survey is completely anonymous; no identifiable information will be collected from participants. Findings will inform CE’s efforts as it attempts to strengthen bi-directional communication, services, and access to resources across the state.

Take our survey in English or Español

A Comprehensive Resource

A Comprehensive ResourceWith Michigan communities facing devastating impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CE program at MICHR focused its efforts on assessing and addressing the needs of its community partners. This resulted in a digital toolkit that acts as a landing page for its numerous services and resources.

Contained within this toolkit is a three-minute needs assessment; special editions of CE’s newsletter, CE Bridges; community-focused flyers developed in partnership with the onWHARD Collaborative and community partners; flyers published by various community organizations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19; details about hand sanitizer donations and deliveries; CE Studios for COVID-19-related research; and various local, regional, and national resources for basic necessities and other important COVID-19 updates, especially for Michigan’s most vulnerable populations.

Click here to learn more

Inspirational Media

Barack Obama“The years I spent organizing, I got more out of it than the people that I was supporting. I felt like ‘I’ve got roots here. I’ve got a community. I’ve got people whose stories I know, who know me, and who connect me to a larger vision and a larger purpose.’ One of the things that happened as a community organizer in Chicago is that…seeing all these neighborhoods and young people gave [me] a better sense of ‘my community isn’t just the South side. My community is all these communities.'” – Barack Obama on The Michelle Obama Podcast.

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