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PEER Program Update
The PEER Program (Partners in Education, Evaluation and Research) is underway for the 2014-2015 academic year with a new cohort of community organizations who are learning to conduct their own research and evaluation projects.

PEER is a 14-month, part-time mentored program designed to increase research partnership capacity in community organizations and facilitate academic/community research partnerships through the training of a selected staff member of that organization. This training incorporates a specific timeframe to carry out a partnered evaluation or research project with a university partner. Fellows are recruited from community-based, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood clinics, governmental agencies, or organizations that have within their mission a focus on health and information dissemination.

This year’s fellows/organizations are: Gloria Agosto-Davis (Cuyahoga County Board of Health), Jennifer Dodd (Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County), Michael Gierlach (Care Alliance), and Sharon Shumaker (Center for Cognition and Recovery). Their respective faculty partners are Heidi Gullett (School of Medicine), Rob Fischer (Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences), Catherine Demko (School of Dental Medicine), and Kathy Farkas (Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences).
PEER Fellows began their research training in June and have participated in ten didactic seminars so far, with topics such as the use of qualitative and quantitative methods in research, conducting literature searches, developing research designs, survey construction, and an introduction to data and statistics through SPSS. The next phase of training will consist of project development meetings between the fellow and their faculty partner. The fellows’ projects will involve the use of data collected specifically by the fellow from their community organizations or the use of existing data and will pertain directly to their (or their organization’s) work.

Part of the mission of PEER is to form lasting relationships between local community organizations and CWRU faculty. In the pilot and second year of the program, several departments have been represented, but the program is always looking for more faculty to participate in PEER. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a PEER faculty partner or more about the program in general, email Jeri Jewett-Tennant at jjj14ATcase.edu.

PEER is a collaborative program of the CTSA Community Engagement Core, Prevention Research Center at Case Western Reserve University, and community organizations. Funding for the program development is provided by the National Institutes of Health through an administrative supplement of the CWRU Clinical and Translational Science Award.
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