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PEER Fellows Research Projects
The third cohort of the Partners in Education, Evaluation and Research (PEER) Program is more than halfway through the 15-month research training program, and the fellows are well on their way to completing a research project with their faculty partners to benefit their organizations. In June, the fellows presented their research proposals to an audience of PRCHN staff, faculty, PEER faculty partners, organizational mentors, and other interested PRCHN affiliates for questions and evaluative comments. Fellows then adjusted their proposals based on this feedback and began submitting their projects to the Case Institutional Review Board for approval. Below are brief descriptions of each Cohort 3 research project, including organization, fellow, organizational mentor and faculty partner.


PEER Organization: Cleveland Regional Perinatal Network
Fellow: MacKenzie Phillips (left)
Organizational Mentor: Avril Albaugh (center)
Faculty Partner: Beth Anthony, Mandel School for Applied Social Science (right)

Project title: Evaluating the impact of maternal depression screening and referrals for Centering Pregnancy patients on birth outcomes and Centering Parenting involvement.
Research question: Research has shown that while perinatal depression occurs independently of race and ethnicity, treatment initiation rates are much lower among African American women than their Caucasian counterparts. The CRPN PEER project will examine the association of scores on perinatal depression screenings completed in the Centering Pregnancy program with birth outcomes, treatment initiation rates, and eventual Centering Parenting involvement. Additionally, we will be exploring patterns of involvement in the Centering Pregnancy program at University Hospitals Macdonald Women’s Hospital. To carry out our project, we will be gathering relevant data from the Electronic Medical Records of individuals who participated in the UMWH Centering Pregnancy program during 2015. This data will be analyzed using chi-square or logistic regression techniques on the statistical software SPSS. We are hoping our research supports the CRPN’s project model of an on-site mental health counselor and universal screening techniques resulting in increased identification and treatment initiation rates among patients. Additionally, we are hoping results support the idea that broad identification and treatment of perinatal depression will result in more positive birth outcomes and eventual enrollment in UMWH Centering Parenting.

PEER Organization: Cleveland Rape Crisis Center
Fellow: Kirsti Mouncey (No photo available)
Organizational Mentor: N/A
Faculty Partner: Gunnur Karakurt, School of Medicine (No photo available)

Project title: The Impact of CRCC’s Victim Services on Program Participants: A qualitative research approach looking at understanding options, rights protection, informed decision making, and power/influence of the reporting and court processes.
Research question: In what ways does the CRCC Victim Services program contribute to the well-being of sexual abuse/rape survivor participants and what are the specific short-term and long-term factors of a successful sexual abuse/rape victim’s advocacy service in Cuyahoga County. Victim Advocacy is defined as acting on behalf of and in support of survivors/co-survivors navigating the legal system by ensuring that the rape survivor’s questions are answered, interests are represented, and rights are upheld.

Relatively little is known about the factors that contribute to successful Victim Advocacy and the impact of the service on survivors receiving it, which leads to differing opinions in the field on how to conduct the service and inconsistent service delivery across the county. The CRCC PEER project research is qualitative, using in-person interviews (45-60 minutes in length) with survivors (5-10) who have participated in Victim Advocacy Services and have completed a series of services. To help determine the answer to the research question, we will be asking study participants the following: What are the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse/rape who receive CRCC victim advocacy services on:
• understanding of their options,
• protection of rights during the involvement with law enforcement and the criminal justice system,
• felt support in making informed choices,
• felt power and influence of the reporting and court processes?

PEER Organization: Neighborhood Family Practice
Fellow: Andrew Morris (center)
Organizational Mentor: Laurel Domanski (left)
Faculty Partner: Melanie Golembiewski, School of Medicine 

Project title: Assessing the healthcare needs of refugee and immigrant high school students at an urban, multi-cultural public school in Cleveland
Research question: Will a School-Based Survey Inform and Predict the Health and Social Needs of Newly Arrived High-School Aged Immigrants and Refugees at an Urban Public School?

NFP’s PEER research project aims to guide and inform the clinical operations and educational programming of a school-based health center located in an urban multi-cultural public school in Cleveland. The school’s population consists only of newly arrived immigrants and refugees from across the globe. We will be administering an anonymous survey (available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Arabic, and Swahili) to all high school students at our target school. The survey will cover topics such as the need for dental services, safe sex practices, assistance with medications, social determinants of health, and a short validated mental health screening tool. Through this survey, we hope to be able to make inferences on the health and social needs of a given population of students based on demographics such as age, gender, and country of origin. Mental health resources will be made available to all students, as we suspect some may indicate a need for mental healthcare (but the anonymity of the survey prevents us from singling out individual students who screen positive). We expect our findings to help us inform both school-based care as well as immigrant and refugee healthcare in general.

PEER Organization: Healthy Fathering Collaborative
Fellow: Steve Killpack (right)
Organizational Mentor: N/A
Faculty Partner: Lee Hoffer, School of Arts & Sciences – Anthropology (left)

Project title: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Text-Based Programmatic Tool to Gather Process and Outcome Data on Formerly Incarcerated Fathers.
Research question: How effective will text messaging be when used as a follow-up mechanism for gathering data about the re-entry activities of fathers formerly incarcerated in a community-based correctional facility in Cleveland?

The HFC’s PEER project is a program evaluation methods study focused on developing a follow-up survey in a text-based platform to collect progress and outcome data from program participants. Three brief (3 minute) surveys will be delivered via text message to program participants who have given their permission to be contacted. The surveys will ask about contact with children, living situation, employment, and plans to have more children. Participants with child support orders and parenting time challenges will be asked about their engagement with government agencies. Electronic incentives will be offered to encourage participation and to express appreciation for participants’ time. If successful, the HFC will share the method with partners and agencies in its network.

The Healthy Fathering Collaborative is a small grass roots agency operating in Greater Cleveland, committed to supporting fathers in the lives of their children and families. The agency coordinates a network of services for fathers, sponsors community awareness events, advocates for father-inclusive policies, operates a data enterprise for small fatherhood programs and provides direct services to fathers in the youth and adult criminal justice systems

PEER Organization: The Gathering Place
Fellow: Beth Bennett (right)
Organizational Mentor: Ellen Heyman (photo not available)
Faculty Partner: Lynda Montgomery, School of Medicine (left)

Project title: Effect of Dragon Boat Training and Competition on Health Quality of Life, Health Behavior, Exercise Adherence and Cardiovascular Fitness in Cancer Survivors: A Mixed Methods Approach.
Research Question: How does participation in Dragon boating training and racing affect healthy behavior, health quality of life, exercise adherence, and health outcomes such as cardiovascular fitness and cancer related fatigue among cancer survivors?

In this study, the Gathering Place PEER project will be observing the effect of having an end-goal (Dragon Boat race) on health quality of life, changes in healthy behavior, exercise adherence and cardiovascular fitness among cancer survivors. For the past 6 years The Gathering Place has been participating in dragon boat training and competition through The Cleveland Dragon Boat Association at Rivergate Park in Cleveland. Proceeds from the dragon boat festival and competition are donated back to The Gathering Place (a community based cancer support center offering programs and services free of charge to cancer survivors and their support). All participants in this investigation have a diagnosis of cancer (stages 0-4), they may be in treatment for their cancer or they have completed treatment within the past 3 years. All participants have been medically cleared by their physician to participate in an exercise program. Twenty volunteers will be recruited for participation in a home walking program and dragon boat training program (HWDB) that leads up to a Dragon Boat competition. Twenty volunteers will serve as a control group and will be asked to perform a home walking program (HW) in line with the National Cancer Institute Physical Activity Guidelines for cancer survivors. The intervention and control group will be samples of convenience. The training program will last 12 weeks for both groups and both will be asked to keep a diary of all physical activity throughout the duration of the study. At the end of the 12-week period, participants in the HWDB group will participate in a focus group exploring their experiences around training and competing in an event with other cancer survivors during the previous 12 weeks. Participants in the HW group will participate in a focus group exploring their experiences with a self-monitored home walking program during the previous 12 weeks.

PEER Organization: Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
Fellow: Alison Ball (right)
Organizational Mentor: Jim Sonnhalter (left)
Faculty Partner: Nora Nock, School of Medicine (center)

Project title: Changing the Built Environment through Street Redesign to Promote Physical Activity
Research question: Can implementation of bike lanes on Noble Road in Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland help neighborhood residents increase levels of physical activity?

The goal of our PEER research is to conduct a pilot study of the neighborhood and assess the existing built environment surrounding a planned greenway. The project area includes a 2.8-mile stretch of Noble Road in both Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, between Mayfield Road and East 152nd Street. The southern portion of this Route was identified as a high scoring secondary connector, while the northern section was identified in the plan as an additional gap route. The CCPC PEER project also involves assessing active transportation infrastructure to provide transportation options like walking or bicycling. To do this, we will use three main methods: 1.) Use census data to provide a profile of the community population and transportation habits, 2.) conduct a street audit that can measure the impact of the environment on physical activity to better understand what street-level investments are needed to support pedestrian and bicycle modes of transportation (utilizing an audit tool provides a systematic observation for measuring the features and quality of the built environment related to walking, biking, and other types of physical activity) and, 3.) conduct a resident community group survey to determine mobility patterns and desires. This project is import for Cleveland’s health due to our rising obesity health crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified America’s lack of physical activity as an epidemic. Some experts claim that increasing people’s physical activity levels will significantly reduce their risk of chronic diseases and related risk factors. The Eastside Greenway Plan connects 19 Greater Cleveland municipalities through a unified trail network to the City of Cleveland, to the Lake Erie Shoreline, the Towpath Trail and Cleveland Metroparks. After conducting spatial inventory and analysis, as well as public workshops, a number of routes were identified to explore as greenway opportunities. This analysis was informed by the project goals of maximizing connectivity, economic development, community health, and green infrastructure opportunities.

Noble Road was identified as a high priority Secondary Connector route. The Noble Road corridor contains a mixture of commercial, residential and institutional land uses. Noble Rd. is marked as a 4-lane road functioning largely as a 2-lane road due to some commercial sections that allow some on-street parking in the outside travel lane. Noble Rd. is also a transit corridor, and improvements should reinforce and support transit service along the corridor.
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