Community-Academic Research News
March 2019
Detroit URC Board Partner Spotlight: An Interview with Zachary Rowe, Executive Director of Friends of Parkside
For over 2 decades, Zachary Rowe has been involved with the Detroit URC in some capacity, and in that time, his perspective on research, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and the Detroit URC has grown and changed substantially.  

“The Detroit URC - Barbara, Rich (Lichtenstein) and the team, came and made a presentation to one of the organizations that I was working with at the time. They made their normal pitch about working together with communities around research, but they described it as being equal partners. This was back in the 90’s. No one really believed any of that, especially me."

"In fact, twenty years ago, I was probably the most vocal person against research -- really thinking that research was not that important. We never had the opportunity to benefit from the work of the research. Researchers used to just come in, do what they do and leave. They did not engage the community. We still had the same issues that they were researching when they left. And we still did not know what the findings were, so it really was not that helpful."

Mr. Rowe is now the Executive Director of Friends of Parkside, a non-profit, community-based organization that concerns itself with the health, education and safety of the residents that live in the Village at Parkside on the eastside of Detroit. In his role, he has led the organization through several successful research projects, many of which grew from his partnership with the Detroit URC. 

"Participating in the Detroit URC and getting involved in CBPR, where partners are all equal partners, I started to see the value of research as a tool to help us to better understand the issues going on in the community and also have some possible solutions to attack those particular issues."  

"I think that has been the biggest benefit -- providing our organization the capacity to look at problems differently.”  

Recently Zachary took some time to answer a few questions about his work at Friends of Parkside and his involvement with the Detroit URC.
What do you gain from being on the Detroit URC Board?

One of the biggest benefits of being on the Board of the Detroit URC is being able to develop relationships with folks from the University of Michigan as well as other community partners. One of the things that was true years ago was that west side organizations and east side organizations really did not interact that much. There was enough work on the east side to keep us all busy. There was not enough of a reason to come over to the west side. Maybe we would go there once in a while for a conference or something like that.

But having been at the Detroit URC table for all these years, you have the opportunity to understand what some of your counterparts are experiencing on their side of town. And you begin to realize that some of those issues are pretty much the same. There may be some unique issues depending on the group. For example, east side groups do not really have to deal with immigration that much. But our west side counterparts have to address that. It’s those nuances… you begin to understand what is going on in other parts of the city.

Creating and maintaining relationships is a big thing that I gain from being on the Board.

Are there other ways in which your partnership with the Detroit URC is helpful for you and Friends of Parkside?

In addition to relationships, it helps to have access to different resources. And by “resources”, I mean not only students, who serve as interns, either supporting the organization generally or advancing specific projects, but also having access to others who have expertise in a particular topic.  

Also, working with the Detroit URC has allowed our reputation to grow and expand outside of our community. Even though we are a small organization on Detroit’s east side, we have national exposure. We became known nationally by doing presentations with the Detroit URC, as well as being a mentor with the CBPR Academy.

I was talking to one of the residents of Parkside about doing presentations nationally, at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference, and she said “I would be so nervous talking to a big group like that.”  

I replied, “I’m not really that nervous in those settings. I’m more nervous when I have to present to residents of Parkside.” 

She said, “You’re nervous when you talk to us? But we know you.” And I replied, “Yeah, that’s the problem.”

I am not going to see some of those folks from national presentations after the event. But, I will be seeing folks in the neighborhood all the time. And they are not afraid to hold me accountable. 

To read the rest of our interview with Zachary, including a discussion of current initiatives, click here to be redirected to our website .
Claiming a Seat at the Table: The Love Her Collective 
 “I would like for trans women of color to have a way to share their narratives and to create a space for them to feel heard and respected. Often when programming is created, there's no regard or intent for trans women of color in Detroit because we are not given a seat at the table,” explained Racquelle Trammell, University of Michigan Research Assistant and member of the Trans Sistas of Color Project-Detroit (TSoCP) , when asked about her goal for the Love Her Collective, the collaborative project with TSoCP and the University of Michigan School of Public Health (U-M SPH) .

Trammell will soon be claiming a seat at the table, when she presents at University of California San Francisco’s 2019 National Transgender Health Summit on April 13-14, 2019.  

“I personally get an opportunity to break any misconceptions that are placed on trans women of color and I get to show up on matters that really matter to my community,” remarked Trammell about the benefits of her participation in the project.

Trammell and U-M SPH and TSoCP team members Laura Jadwin-Cakmak, Research Director in Health Behavior and Health Education, Kristi Gamarel, Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, Cierra Burks, Founding Mother of TSoCP, Lilianna Reyes, Founding Mother and Executive Director of TSoCP, Bré Campbell, Founding Mother and former Executive Director of TSoCP, and Gary Harper, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and Professor of Global Public Health will be presenting their recent research findings at the Summit. 

The Love Her Collective team held several focus groups with trans women in Detroit to determine their health needs and service design preferences. In addition to presenting the focus group findings, they will also be presenting an overview of the partnership development process from the perspective of both the community and academic partners, highlighting best practices to use when the goal is putting the community’s needs first.

This research was made possible through a small planning grant from the Detroit URC and pilot funding to Kristi Gamarel from the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco Visiting Scholars Program (R25MH067127) , which provided the opportunity for a needs assessment of trans women of color in Detroit, giving them the opportunity to express their concerns and decide on what services they most needed, and, subsequently, ensuring that future programming is evidenced based and meeting actual needs.  

“There's no programming or needs assessment in the city of Detroit,” explained Trammell. “(Receiving the grant from the Detroit URC) shows that someone cares about the survival and sustainability of trans women of color. It has allowed trans women of color to be visible, build community and create a framework of how to be intentional and compassionate while developing programming for trans people.”

Visit our website for more information about the Detroit URC Small Planning Grants Program .
Tenth Round of Small Planning Grants Awarded
Three community-academic partnerships have been selected to receive grants of $5,000 each from the Detroit URC Small Planning Grants Program . These grants will support research that improves the health and quality of life of Detroit residents. 

This marks the tenth round of the Small Planning Grant program, which has funded 23 projects since 2010 averaging $4,000 per award; a total of $92,000 has been allocated overall. We are pleased to acknowledge the support provided this year by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) Communities Engagement Program. The partnership involving the University on Michigan School of Social Work (U-M SSW) is supported through our partnership with the U-M SSW Detroit Engagement Initiative.

The projects and partnerships funded are the following:

  • Development of the Healthy Chandler Park Community Advisory Board
Community and academic partners from Wayne State University and Chandler Park Conservancy

  • Addressing a Critical Gap: Perceptions of Young African American Men of their Access to Sexual Health Services in a Community-Based Setting
Community and academic partners from the U-M School of Nursing and Detroit Community Health Connection

  • Promoting Infant Health and Wellbeing by Engaging Fathers in Home Visitation
Community and academic partners from the U-M School of Social Work and American Indian Health and Family Services

Are you a member of the CAR-Net?
If so, we want to hear from you! We are currently looking for your input on ways to improve our Community-Academic Research Network (CAR-Net) , which is a virtual entity that involves a broad array of community organizations and academic researchers interested in conducting and disseminating collaborative research in the city of Detroit.

The purpose of this survey is to evaluate and improve your experience with the CAR-Net. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this survey is voluntary and your responses to these questions will be anonymous.

Please complete the survey by April 2, 2019 . We will provide a summary report of the results. Thank you so much for your involvement in the CAR-Net and your input on this survey!
Updates and Announcements
Save the Date! Detroit URC Networking Social on April 30, 5:30-7:30 pm
The 7th Annual Detroit URC Networking Social will take place at The Roostertail , on Tuesday, April 30, from 5:30-7:30 pm. Through both structured and unstructured activities, this annual gathering provides a unique opportunity to meet others with similar interests and to identify potential partners for future collaborations. Complimentary appetizers, transportation to and from Ann Arbor, and free parking are all provided. 

We are delighted to announce that this year’s event will be co-sponsored by the Edward Ginsberg Center , U-M Poverty Solutions , Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) , and the U-M Detroit Center.

Please visit for more information. If you have any questions, please contact Eliza Wilson-Powers .
Grand Opening of the
Best Buy Teen Tech Center at DHDC
The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation celebrated the grand opening of their new Best Buy Teen Tech Center on March 26, 2019.

“We received a grant from Best Buy for the new Teen Tech Center. We are the first Best Buy Teen Tech Center in the state of Michigan and from what they told us, it’s the largest in the country and it was the largest grand opening that they have ever had,” remarked Angela Reyes, Executive Director and Founder of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC).
The tech center includes a music engineering studio, a green screen, virtual reality equipment, 3-D printers, as well as several different types of computer technology that allows kids to do graphic design, coding and Computer Assisted Design.  

“The reaction from the community has been pretty awesome. We had about 300 people who came to our grand opening on Tuesday. We invited everyone in the community to the grand opening, plus many of our corporate partners, who are also employers who are hiring some of our young people out of college,” continued Reyes.

“We already have about 100 kids a day coming in. Parents, teachers, employers… everyone was very excited!”
Barrier Busting Team Heads to Chicago
Stephanie Moore, Evaluation Specialist at the University of Michigan, Julie Rice, HOPE Village resident, and colleagues have been accepted to the Society for Community Research and Action's Biennial Conference in Chicago next June to present a session entitled Fighting Racism, Poverty, and Injustice Through Community-University Collaboration: The Work of Detroit’s Urban Learning and Leadership Collaborative (ULLC). 

In partnership with Focus:HOPE , Neighborhood Service Organization , and U-M researchers Michael Gordon and Noel Tichy, the ULLC received a grant from the Detroit URC and Poverty Solutions Community-Academic Grant Program in 2016, which enabled them to introduce and evaluate the Barrier Buster pilot program that provides small grants to address health and educational outcome challenges in low-income households in Detroit’s HOPE Village.

This project will be the subject of one of three presentations during their session. Visit our website to read more about past Detroit URC and Poverty Solutions grantees .
Welcome Linda Little, President & CEO
of Neighborhood Service Organization
The Detroit URC Board welcomes new member Linda Little, who became the new President and CEO of Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) , when her predecessor, Sheilah Clay, retired.

Ms. Little brings more than 20 years of healthcare management and transformation experience. Before joining NSO, she has served in leadership roles at Total Health Care, Tenet Healthcare - Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, and Plante Moran. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor in Healthcare Administration and Business for the University of Phoenix, and is the lead author of “Chapter 3 – The Nurses Role in the Era of Accountable Care: A Catalyst for Change” a textbook published by Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and written for staff and university faculty at nursing programs worldwide.
A native Detroiter, Little earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Detroit-Mercy ; and her MBA from Wayne State University . She and her husband, Dr. Bryan Little, and their seven children reside in Detroit.

Please join us in welcoming Linda, and thanking Sheilah for her years of service to Detroit and to the Detroit URC!
Free Community Health Maps Workshop coming to Detroit & surrounding areas
Free Community Health Maps workshops will be held in Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, and Ann Arbor in early April. The workshop will provide hands-on instruction in a low/no-cost data collection and mapping workflow that enables community advocates to meet health mapping needs (e.g. visualizing disease prevalence, hazards, clinic locations, etc.)

This workshop is ideal for those working in a community-based minority health, environmental advocacy, or public health organization who seek low-cost mapping solutions.

There is no cost or prerequisite to attend.

Workshops will be held in the following locations:

  • April 2 - U-M Ann Arbor, from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM in the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery.

  • April 3 - U-M Flint, from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM in the University Center Happenings Room and the Thompson Library.

  • April 4 - The U-M Detroit Center, from 9:00 M - 3:00 PM in the Ann Arbor Room.

  • April 5 - U-M Dearborn, from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM in room 1160 of the Social Sciences Building (SSB).

Our Partners, Affiliates, and Friends in the News
Richard Bryce and the Neighborhood Service Organization were both mentioned in a Model D Media article on their efforts to train medical students to help homeless populations in Detroit .
Lidia Reyes Flores , Executive Director of Latino Family Services, was quoted in Click On Detroit about Latino Family Services searching for a new location for their food pantry.
Guy Williams , president and CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, was quoted in the Holland Sentinel and Fox47news praising the Michigan governor’s proposed Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
Kimberlydawn Wisdom , Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity and Chief Diversity Officer at Henry Ford Health System, was featured in a Fox2Detroit interview .

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 .