CBCS Faculty Receive All 3 "Research That Matters" Grants from USF Office of Community Engagement

The USF Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships recently honored three College of Behavioral and Community Sciences faculty members with Research That Matters Faculty-Community Partnership Grants. All three awards this year were given to our faculty for their impactful research in our community that has immediate real-world impact.

The Research That Matters program seeks to promote and encourage activities that engage USF research with the broader community. This small grant program helps to provide financial support for research that focuses in issues in the community, and helps to support pilot work that has the potential to have a lasting positive impact on the community and the possibility of garnering external funding.

Dr. Teresa Nesman and Dr. Sharon Hodges of Child and Family Studies, and Dr. Debra Dobbs of Aging Studies have received this grant to help support their research.

Building School-Child Welfare Collaboration for Children and Youth in Foster Care: The OCE funding will support Dr. Sharon Hodges' work to examine how increased collaboration between public schools and child welfare agencies might improve educational outcomes for children and youth involved in Florida's foster care system. The study builds upon an existing project (RUN grant) directed by CFS's Dr. Kim Crosland and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences that involves collaboration between CFS, the School Districts of Polk and Pasco Counties, and the child welfare agencies, Heartland for Children (Polk) and Eckerd Youth Alternatives (Pasco). The RUN project collected data related to interactions between local child welfare and education systems in Pasco and Polk Counties. "Because the purpose of the IES study is to develop a child-level assessment and intervention tool, the team was not funded to do analyses of the system-level data related to interagency collaboration," said Dr. Hodges. "Working with the RUN project team, the Research that Matters grant will allow us to do the system level analyses and will position us to apply for an IES their systems research grant."
Apopka Family Learning Intervention Mapping Project: The OCE funding will support a partnership between Dr. Teresa Nesman and the Apopka Learning Center (AFLC) in Orange County, Florida. AFLC has primarily served the local Hispanic/Latino population for 35 years offering programs to support afterschool, summer academic enrichment, and parent engagement activities. A recent analysis has revealed the need for prevention and early intervention supports, as well as new strategies to address a more diverse population in ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and employment status. To guide this strategic planning and programmatic decision-making, Dr. Nesman will obtain data by creating a community map of resources and gaps; conducting focus groups with residents and service recipients to obtain information about services and supports needed by families with young children ages zero to five; and comparing elements of an evidence-based practice with the identified needs, resources, and challenges. This research process will benefit AFLC by providing targeted information to develop strategies for early interventions with young children in their community."
Adoptability and Implementation of a Quality Improvement Palliative Care Training Program for Staff in Assisted Living Communities: The OCE funding will support a partnership between Dr. Dobbs and 10 assisted living facilities and two hospices in Tampa. Dr. Dobbs will be studying deficiencies in staff in end of life care education to determine the efficacy of a potential evidence-based quality improvement palliative care training program (QI-PCTP) for staff in nursing homes. The funding will be used to determine the feasibility of conducting a study to examine the barriers to the adoption of the QI-PCTP in nursing homes and generate preliminary data from stakeholders about the factors likely to facilitate or hinder the adoption and implementation of the program in assisted living facilities. This study also aims to ascertain the perceived importance and changeability of each barrier and facilitators based on various stakeholder groups, including assisted living facility administrators, nurses, personal care aides, and hospice nurses. Community partners will be involved in identification of these barriers, and the results from the study will progress the field of end of life care in assisted living to help develop a feasible end of life care educational program for future implementation in these settings.

Congratulations to all three faculty members, and good luck with your research!