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Building Trust, Building Relationships and Building Better Communities PowerPoint Presentation
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Building Trust, Building Relationships and Building Better Communities

Building Trust, Building Relationships and Building Better Communities

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Building Trust, Building Relationships and Building Better Communities

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  1. Abstract Number: TP-MON-138c Education Redefined If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. - An Aboriginal Australian Woman Building Trust, Building Relationships and Building Better Communities • Background: • Often information discovered in laboratories and controlled settings is difficult to translate into applications that impact community health and well-being. Harvard behavioral economist, SendhilMullainathan, Ph.D., discusses what he refers to as the “Last Mile Opportunity” in his 2000 TedTalk(see http://www.ted.com/talks/sendhil_mullainathan.html). Kreuter and Bernhardt (see AJPH, December 2009) encourage us to think about marketing and distribution as we consider the dissemination challenge. As attention continues to be focused on the difficulty of translating science into action, community engagement and relationship building are key strategies to explore. Developing authentic partnerships is a strategy encouraged in community-based participatory research approaches (see http://www.ccph.info/); however, developing and sustaining relationships takes time and requires a different skill set than typically used during clinical trials and basic research. • The Wellness Management program at the Fisher Institute for Wellness and Gerontology values relationship building and immersive/experiential education. These combine to create an ideal environment for developing graduate-level professionals and supporting local wellness leaders as they develop and deliver initiative to improve the health and well-being of the individuals they serve. • The United States Federal Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required school corporations to: • Establish nutritional guidelines for school foods, • Guarantee school meals meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards; and , • Establish goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based programs. I • In response to this legislation, “Well AWARE in Delaware County” was established (partially funded by a Ball Brothers Foundation wellness grant). The goal of this initiative: create a coordinating center to support the Muncie area schools as they moved toward developing, implementing, and evaluating federally mandated school wellness policies. • “Silent Partnership” Thinking: • Partnerships can take on many formats, and they emerge based on existing situations and relationships. University faculty interested in developing community-based partnerships should consider a “Silent Partnership” approach. • Focus on establishing trust by initially engaging in activities where participating organizations support each other in mutually beneficial ways. Once trust is established, long-term alliances with the potential of encouraging meaningful change can emerge! • Respect community partners’ ideas and opinions and recognize that they are the “experts” when it comes to matters related to their lives and to the community. • Commit to learning together. Learning about the community… learning about each other… learning about (and redefining!) “best practices.” • Keep in mind that “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are” (French novelist, Anaïs Nin). When faculty researchers enter a community to gain new insight that can lead to publications we often lose sight of the people. • Objective: • Well AWARE in Delaware County was designed to connect with parents, students, and educators based on two guiding principles. • Antonovsky’sSalutogenic Theory. • School staff were encouraged to adopt wellness programs and policy changes that were meaningful, manageable and comprehensible to them. This approach helped ensure positive participation in implemented programs, allowed schools to recognize that programs and policies could be tailored to their specific environments and economic criteria, and enhanced program success and sustainability. • Ball State University as a Silent Partner. • University faculty and students acted as a support structure in the implementation of this initiative. This model allowed school personnel to receive recognition for program successes and provided real-world experiences for students. This also helped ensure that the responsibility for identifying and implementing the changes resided primarily with the school systems. • Results and Conclusions: • Well AWARE in Delaware County elevated awareness and appreciation of physical activity, nutrition, and the link between health and academic achievement among school personnel. As a result Delaware County Schools met the federal legislative requirements and several received Healthy Hoosier School state recognition awards. Future recommendations include the further evaluation of programs that have been implemented in the school system to determine long term benefits and the on-going evaluation of school wellness policy as a practice to ensure that programs continue to meet the needs of the parents, students and educators. • Building on this early success, Muncie community partners have initiated a general action plan for community improvement and our hospital group has committed to becoming an accountable care system by 2014. The Fisher Institute is developing a “Health Corp” of undergraduates to help support these efforts and provide students with real-world experiences during their studies… EDUCATION REDEFINED! • Examples of BSU Silent Partnerships: • Social Marketing Training for the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative • The Indiana State Department of Health requested that the Fisher Institute provide social marketing training for individuals involved in a new state-wide Healthy Weight Initiative (see http://www.inhealthyweight.org/). Five community groups entered ready to begin work on projects, and first year graduate students in Wellness Management at the Fisher Institute were identified to provide support. Each group was introduced to tools for initial planning and formative research (training is still ongoing) and was supported as they applied the tools to their projects. Community partners benefit from learning new strategies and graduate students benefit from using the tools they were introduced to in the class room in real-world settings. Trusted relationships with long-term potential are being established. One graduate student is currently pursuing an internship at one of the community partner locations, and one is currently planning to use the formative research data collection efforts from one of the projects for thesis work. • Parent Achievers • Based on participation in a local community coalition, a relationship emerged between the Fisher Institute and Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP). The Executive Director from PEP described an interest in supporting parent decision-making that fit with the potential outcomes touted by students at the Institute who were completing a coaching certification as part of an independent study. Conversations continued, and currently the first group of community partners is completing the coaching certification process. We are developing a “Dissemination and Intervention” NIH grant to be able to deploy a research-based process to evaluate the potential of this type of an effort. • Interdisciplinary, Undergraduate Workplace Wellness Minor • An interdisciplinary team from Ball State University’s College of Applied Science and Technology developed an undergraduate minor in workplace wellness. Engaged learning was identified as a key component; however, no good sites where students could work were available in our community. The local schools were identified as a potential partner in developing a county-wide system of workplace wellness venues. Discussions led to a plan where school partners would lead the school-based effort, and Ball State University faculty and students would provide support. School employees would benefit from the workplace wellness program, and Ball State students would have the opportunity to learn in real-world settings. Early in the partnership development, Congress enacted the Local School Wellness Policy Law (P.L. 108 – 265). The Ball Brothers Foundation encouraged the existing partnership to expand to support the schools as they developed their local wellness policies. What began as discussions in 2004 continues to expand today. For examples of School Wellness Success Stories see http://www.bsu.edu/wellness/lwrt/successstories2 • Future Considerations: From a Faculty Member’s Perspective • Teaching and student development functions at a university may be the best route to pursue during “silent partnership” development. Trying to identify community alliances and mutually beneficial opportunities related to data collection and other research-focused practices may be more difficult when initially moving toward community-campus partnership work, even when the research is geared toward community improvement. • Developing, maintaining, and enhancing relationships is a full-time function. Universities should consider initiatives that support relationship building. Often, tenure requirements prohibit early-career faculty from participating in these efforts. The Carnegie Community Engagement Elective Classification encourages “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity” ( see http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/descriptions/community_engagement.php. • Focusing on skill development and “tool use” (see Helen Haste’s work at http://www.gse.harvard.edu/blog/uk/2009/06/technology-and-youth-a-remix-that-is-changing-the-education-landscape.html), and encouraging the use of these skills and tools allows community partners to have decision-making autonomy and fits well with student-centered learning. Jane Ellery, PhD. jellery@bsu.edu Peter Ellery, PhD. pellery@bsu.edu Fisher Institute for Wellness and Gerontology (765)285-8259 - www.bsu.edu/wellness