Community-Academic Research News
January 2019
Detroit URC Board Partner Spotlight: An interview with Joneigh Khaldun, Director and Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department
For over 100 years, the Detroit Health Department has been working to promote the health and safety of Detroiters -- all 670,000 of them. From providing immunizations and screenings to preparing for public health emergencies, promoting the well-being of over half a million people is no small task, but Joneigh Khaldun, MD, MPH, FACEP, the Director and Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department, is up to the challenge.

Tapped by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to lead the Public Health Department nearly two years ago, Khaldun has been leading the charge to develop a sustainable public health system in Detroit by addressing the social determinants of health, incorporating neighborhood based solutions, and working with partners who share common goals.

Khaldun recently took a break from her busy schedule to speak with us about how her involvement in the Detroit Urban Research Center (Detroit URC) supports her Detroit Health Department mission.

How did you first get involved with the Detroit URC?

I first became involved with the Detroit URC when we worked with some of its partners, including University of Michigan (U-M), School of Social Work and Michigan Medicine, on a project funded by U-M Poverty Solutions, connecting community health workers with Detroit residents to improve access to healthcare. I was thrilled to become even more involved as a Board Member when I became Director and Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department in February of 2017.
Joneigh Khaldun at table at outdoor fair
How has the Detroit URC helped you advance your mission?

One of the values that we have at the health department is partnership. It is so important in public health to not just launch single programs, but to build collaborations across sectors and with the community, so that we can create healthy environments and communities. Detroit URC has been a great way to collaborate and share our work.

What do you gain from being on the Detroit URC Board?

I love being able to connect with academic partners, nonprofits, and community members, all with the same focus and mission to improve health.
What initiatives are you currently working on?

In 2018, we completed a robust community health assessment, engaging over 1500 residents and stakeholders about their vision for the community, as well as their identification of community needs and assets. We will be releasing this data in the spring and invite all stakeholders to participate in our Community Health Improvement Planning Process.
Khaldun at new Teen Ctr & IDecide program
In 2018, we also launched iDecide Detroit, an initiative that is youth-led and youth-informed and brings together over 20 medical providers to form a network of care around reproductive health and contraception for people of all ages. 

Based on the needs we identified in the community, the Detroit Health Department also opened its own Teen Health Clinic inside the Butzel Family Recreation Center at 7737 Kercheval in Detroit, where we provide reproductive health services and counseling, birth control, and STD testing and treatment. We provide services regardless of insurance status, and we have evening and weekend hours. For more information, people can call our hotline, 833-9-DECIDE, or visit our website at .

To read the rest of our interview with Dr. Khaldun, click here to be redirected to our website.
A Promising Pathway to Achieve Health Equity: The CBPR Partnership Academy
The Detroit URC’s CBPR Partnership Academy is a multifaceted intensive training program  to enhance capacity of community and academic partners to use CBPR to understand and address health inequities in their communities.  Findings from an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Partnership Academy were recently published in Health Promotion Practice . In the study, Chris Coombe and colleagues found that participation in the year-long training program enhances teams’ competency, efficacy, and equitable relationships for conducting CBPR. In addition, the new partnerships from around the country successfully carried out research studies, secured grant funding, and presented courses and workshops on CBPR in their own communities. The study demonstrates that an academic and community partner-based, experiential learning program can be effective in enhancing development of CBPR partnerships to address health inequities in their communities.

The full article can be read on line at the SAGE journals website by clicking here .

Learn more about the CBPR Partnership Academy by clicking here .
Grants Awarded to Alleviate Poverty in Michigan
 Four collaborative teams of University of Michigan (U-M) researchers and community partner organizations have been awarded up to $25,000 grants for research projects focused on evaluating and strengthening interventions, programs, and policies that seek to prevent and alleviate poverty in Michigan.

This marks the third round of community-academic grants to be awarded through a joint initiative between the Detroit URC and U-M Poverty Solutions . For more information about grantees funded in 2017 and 2018, please click here . Please click on the titles below to read more about the projects funded this year.

  • submitted by researchers from U-M Medical School and Friends of Parkside

  • submitted by researchers from U-M School of Public Health and Community Health and Social Services (CHASS)

  • submitted by researchers from U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Michigan Advocacy Program

  • submitted by researchers from UM-Dearborn and Street Democracy

To read more about these projects, please click here.
Public Charge Rule’s Impact on the Community
When deciding on medical care for their children, some parents have to juggle competing concerns, such as whether it is more important to get immunizations early in the season and maybe be a little late to soccer practice or whether it is better to wait a few weeks for immunizations so as not to miss extra-curricular activities. 

For other parents, however, medical care decisions are far more complicated: is it worthwhile to get immunizations and medical care at all and risk having the family be broken up or is it better to forgo medical care in order to maximize the likelihood that the family is able to stay together?

Parents forgoing medical care for their children is one of the many consequences of the “public charge rule” proposed by the Trump administration, according to recent research from Paul Fleming, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) , University of Michigan School of Public Health (U-M SPH), Richard Bryce, Chief Medical Officer, Community Health and Social Services Center, Inc. , and their research team

Fleming and Bryce received a grant from the Detroit URC and Poverty Solutions to look into the patterns of health and social service utilization among immigrant communities in southeastern Michigan. The research team interviewed dozens of people, from healthcare and social service providers to patient advocates to immigrant patients themselves.
In their recent Detroit Free Press op-ed, Fleming and Bryce describe one of the patients they interviewed. “Rosa,” a young mother in her 20’s, who was too fearful to have her real name used, has been living in the Detroit area for nearly half of her life. While cradling her infant at a recent medical appointment, Rosa explained to health care providers that she was considering withdrawing her child from health insurance and from nutritional programs because she fears that keeping her child in these programs would hurt other family member’s chances at citizenship later.

Under the proposed public charge rule, immigrants who use government health care, nutritional programs, or housing programs could be ineligible to receive a visa or United States citizenship. Although Rosa’s child was born in the US, and is thus a US citizen, fully eligible for all public assistance benefits, Rosa is fearful of utilizing services because not all of her child’s family members are US citizens.

For the rest of the article, please click here .

Community-University Partnership Work Informs Detroit City Ordinance
Working in partnership with the United Community Housing Coalition , and with assistance from a grant from the Detroit URC and Poverty Solutions , Roshanak Mehdipanah (Assistant Professor in Health Behavior and Health Education at the School of Public Health) and Alexa Eisenberg (Doctoral Candidate in HBHE) studied the barriers to Detroit’s Poverty Tax Exemption, a critical tool for tax foreclosure prevention in Detroit. Through their research activities and community-engaged efforts, their findings informed the development of a city Ordinance aimed at improving awareness and access to the exemption that was approved by the Detroit City Council in November 2018.

"We could never have done this without the support of the [Detroit] URC and Poverty Solutions. Understanding this issue and achieving this accomplishment took resources and time that would not have otherwise been afforded to our team," remarked Eisenberg.

For more information on their accomplishment, please see articles from the Detroit Free Press , the School of Public Health or Poverty Solutions .
 American Public Health Association (APHA) 2019 Presentations now available on the Detroit URC website
Were you unable to go to APHA this past year? Did you go, but miss out on some presentations because there were so many great events happening simultaneously? Then we have got you covered. Please check out the many excellent presentations by the Detroit URC and affiliated partnerships that are now up on our website

"The APHA Conference was amazing overall because it focused on equity, particularly related to community health and social justice space. There were several profound sessions related to leadership and developing communications messages, particular with respect to Moral Foundations Theory. Also, seeing colleagues honored at the award ceremony was very gratifying," remarked Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Senior Vice President of Community Health & Equity and Chief Wellness and Diversity Officer, Henry Ford Health System, and Detroit URC Board member, when asked about this past fall’s APHA Conference.
Our Partners, Affiliates, and Friends in the News
According to the Detroit News, over 400 people gathered together to celebrate former Board member of the Detroit URC Sheilah Clay ’s retirement as president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) . NSO’s new president and CEO, Linda Little , MBA, RN, CCM, and new Detroit URC Board member, was one of many in attendance. Little brings more than 20 years of healthcare management and transformation experience, including serving as NSO’s Chief Strategy Officer and second vice chair of the NSO board.
In an article about U-M research , Rogério M. Pinto , Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Social Work, sheds light on the extent of the global HIV epidemic and how historically underserved and stigmatized populations are disproportionately impacted by HIV.
Both Joneigh Khaldun and Kimberlydawn Wisdom , Senior Vice President of Community Health & Equity and Chief Wellness & Diversity Officer at Henry Ford Health System , were mentioned in a Michigan Chronicle article on the Detroit Health Department’s efforts to address premature births in Detroit .
Kimberlydawn Wisdom , along with Co-Principal Investigator Cathy Collins-Fulea, was the recipient of a grant from the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation . The grant will help support the Women-Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network: Detroit
While attending an Eric Holder (former U.S. Attorney General) speaking event at Focus: Hope , Sheilah Clay was featured in a photo with Holder, Portia Roberson, Vern Davis Anthony, and Linda Little .

We want to hear from you!
If you have any upcoming events that you would like us to help publicize or if you or your organization were recently in the news, please let us know so that we can help let others know. Contact us at .
The Detroit URC is in its 23rd year of fostering health equity through community-based participatory research (CBPR), and we recognize that this important, collective work is only made possible through the ongoing collaboration among these exceptional partner organizations:  Communities In Schools Community Health and Social Services Center Detroit Health Department Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation Eastside Community Network Friends of Parkside Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice Latino Family Services Neighborhood Service Organization Institute for Population Health Henry Ford Health System ; and The University of Michigan Schools of  Public Health Nursing , and  Social Work .