Building a Community-Based Research Network Project Block by Block
Price Hill, a neighborhood on the west side of Cincinnati with an estimated 3,100 households with children and adolescents under 18, is a neighborhood in which children and pregnant women suffer rates of preterm birth, infant mortality, and medical and psychiatric hospitalization that are among the highest in the county. These adverse outcomes are, in part, due to disparate social and economic conditions as well as inadequate access to and experience with the healthcare system. In 2014, Santa Maria Community Services (SMCS) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) co-created Healthy Homes Block by Block (Block by Block), an innovative place-based, community-driven approach to improving health and well-being of children and families.
Block by Block recruits, trains, employs, and supports residents of the neighborhood to perform the role of Block Captain. Block Captains develop a neighborhood-based network of trusted relationships and support, and identify needs and strengths of those living on the blocks they serve. In this capacity-building project, the project team will build upon the network developed by Block by Block, forming a research network with members made up of: Block by Block staff, Block Captains, adult community members from households participating in Block by Block, and researchers. Project aims: 1) ensure members possess the necessary knowledge to function equitably and meaningfully in co-design and co-production of patient-centered outcomes Research (PCOR); 2) foster values, behaviors, and teamwork essential to effective PCOR; 3) establish the structure and materials necessary to sustain and expand the network. Investigators will provide monthly co-learning sessions for members designed to improve knowledge of the principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR), comparative effectiveness research (CER), PCOR, and partnered research design and conduct. The team will assess needs of members and adapt programming in response to identified needs.
The researchers will develop values, behaviors, and teamwork essential for authentic co-design and co-production through structured and unstructured experiences. Members will participate in community-based experiences to foster a culture of co-production and facilitate a safe and trusting environment in which participants are able to set and attain meaningful goals. These will include: planned activities in the community, outreach with Block Captains, storytelling and sharing of experiences, open discussion, and socializing. The team will develop a web-based platform for distribution of and access to materials compiled and created for this project. Video content will be created to support and capture lessons learned for co-learning sessions.
Project collaborators: SMCS, CCHMC, Center for Clinical and Translational Science & Training, Community Engagement Core, Community Leadership Institute, community-academic Advisory Board. Project outcomes/impact: 1) network of community members, social service providers, healthcare providers, and researchers prepared and empowered to launch PCOR, likely to impact the most vulnerable and hardest to reach children and families experiencing the greatest burden of health disparities; 2) demonstrated value of a novel, place-based approach to address health outcomes and disparities; 3) web platform, video content, and written materials to sustain and expand capacity for PCOR, across Price Hill and beyond.