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Inaugural Curtis Center Signature Programs

The inaugural Curtis Center Signature Programs Initiative (SPI) awardees were selected to receive $10,000 in program funds and four types of research consultation services per year of the program from the Curtis Center. The YBMen Project is also a Curtis Center Signature Program but did not receive SPI funds.

African American Chronic Care Equity through Self-management Program

Program Co-Leads: Jamie Mitchell and Jaclynn Hawkins, Curtis Center Faculty Affiliates and Assistant Professors of Social Work, and Lenette Jones, Curtis Center Faculty Affiliate, Assistant Professor School of Nursing

This Signature Program will address the development, implementation, and translation of behavioral and health services interventions that target improvements in the self-management of chronic diseases among African American adults.  Specifically, it will explore the role of health information and health communication behaviors in the self-management of chronic diseases among African American adults, and engage community stakeholders to support chronic disease self-management research. This program will culminate in a half-day symposium hosted at the UM-SSW, focusing on academic-community partnerships to reduce chronic disease self-management disparities for African Americans in Southeast Michigan.

Developing a Partnership to Address Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women in Michigan

Program Lead: Katie Schultz, Curtis Center Faculty Affiliate and Assistant Professor of Social Work

This Curtis Center Signature Program has established a partnership between faculty of the U-M School of Social Work and Uniting Three Fires Against Violence, a statewide tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition with a mission to support Michigan Tribes in promoting social change to address disproportionate rates of violence impacting tribal communities. Disproportionately higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault against American Indian and Alaska Native women can result in higher rates of negative health outcomes and health disparities. Listening sessions with key stakeholders across the state will be held to identify service gaps and better understand the effectiveness of culturally honoring advocacy to further the coalition's mission and promote health equity among tribal communities in Michigan.

A Psycho-Oncology Fellowship to Support Pre-Doctoral Health Disparity Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Sex and Gender Needs During Cancer

Program Co-Leads: Anao Zhang, Curtis Center Faculty Affiliate and Assistant Professor of Social Work, and Nina Jackson Levin, Curtis Center Pre-doctoral Fellow

This Signature Program will create a pre-doctoral Psycho-Oncology social work Fellowship at the emergent Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program at Michigan Medicine and its research arm, AYA CAncer REsearch (AYA CARE) to address the unique developmental issues that result in significantly worse health outcomes among adolescents and young adults (AYAs; aged 15-39) than their pediatric or adult counterparts, both during treatment and throughout survivorship. The detrimental effects of cancer and treatment among this age group on infertility and sexual dysfunction significantly impact their psychosocial wellbeing. The social work research fellow at MAYA will thus address the paucity of research on the health inequities created by heteronormative framing of fertility and promote a more capacious or inclusive understanding of reproductive health care during cancer.

The Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) Project

YBMen Director: Daphne C. Watkins, Curtis Center Director

Founded and Directed by Professor Daphne C. Watkins, the YBMen Project provides young Black men with a safe place to communicate about their mental health, manhood, and social support. It is an adaptable intervention with proven strategies that have addressed unmet needs among both adolescent and young adult Black males. After the initial pilot intervention at Jackson College in 2014-15, the project was implemented again at Eastern Michigan University (2016-17), Michigan State University (2017-18), Ohio State University (2017-18), Bow Middle School (2018-19), and is currently being adapted for K-12 schools in Washtenaw County in partnership with TRAILS to Wellness.

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