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News & Info

Institutionalizing Workforce Diversity: What It Really Takes to Make It Work

Programs designed to enhance opportunities for young people and adults from historically underrepresented groups in professions such as teaching, engineering, evaluation, medicine, and nursing play a major role in our nation’s response to workforce diversity (see, for example, Collins & Hopson, 2014; Fenwick, 2001; Greer, Clark, & Bankston, 2015; Nivet & Berlin, 2014). This article discusses why such programs are necessary and what it takes to institutionalize workforce diversity without compromising the focus on equity—ensuring that everyone is treated fairly before and after they enter the profession regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, and other demographic characteristic—and quality—holding everyone, regardless of their background, to the highest level of competency and professional standards.

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Urban Universities Diversify the Healthcare Workforce

Data-informed decision-making and a stronger, more effective healthcare workforce. This is one of the goals of the Urban Universities for Health Equity through Alignment, Leadership, and Transformation of the Health Workforce (UU4HEALTH). To achieve this goal requires a systematic process for identifying metrics that can be used to help university leaders understand the state of diversity among their institutions’ student population and faculty, and how this could impact our nation’s future healthcare workforce. Equally important, the data for the metrics must be feasible to collect across health profession colleges—consistently and in a sustainable manner. This article describes the UU4HEALTH initiative and Community Science’s involvement. 

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Staff Profile: Daniel Pagán, M.A., M.P.H.

Daniel Pagán, M.A., M.P.H., is a Research Assistant at Community Science. He assists with data collection and analysis, literature reviews, and report writing for several projects, including the Office of Minority Health’s Community Data-Sharing Initiative and the national evaluation of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities. Prior to working at Community Science, Daniel spent time working for two county departments of public health as a Randal Lewis Health Policy Fellow. As a fellow, he developed a policy brief describing the county’s initiatives to reduce adolescent obesity, relating their successes to established theoretical concepts and allowing for a deeper understanding of their programs. He has extensive experience working in health promotion on a wide range of topics including adolescent obesity, tobacco use and marketing, and utilizing data and theory for program development. 

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New Projects at Community Science

Community Science is working on several new projects. They reflect our commitment to advancing the science around building the capacity of organizations to develop healthy and equitable communities.

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Advancing Implementation Science to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences

Research has shown that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) involving child abuse, neglect, and household violence as well as mental illness, incarceration, and substance abuse are linked to a lifetime of poor health outcomes. ACEs disrupt brain development and harm the immune system, resulting in cognitive impairment, risky health behaviors, chronic disease, and early death. An international network of researchers, health officials, foundations, service agencies, and community advocates is working to increase awareness of the harm of ACEs and develop effective strategies for their prevention, mitigation, and treatment. As the evaluator of several important ACEs initiatives, Community Science is developing groundbreaking evaluation tools and approaches to advance the science of how to address this complex problem more effectively at multiple levels. 

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The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Palix Foundation’s Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, is leading the three-year initiative Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities. The initiative aims to help service providers infuse research on adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress, and brain development into their organizations’ programs, practices, and policies, and work with others to support systems and policy change, impacting child and family outcomes across the life course. Fifteen nonprofit organizations will lead these efforts across communities in the U.S. and Alberta, Canada.

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Publications

Emerging Action Principles for Designing and Planning Community Change (March 2015)

Community Matters! Decades of scientific research have shown that being part of a supportive, inclusive and capable community promotes mental, physical, and social well-being more than any other factors known to the social and medical sciences. Our publication series, Community Matters: Action Principles, Frameworks, and Strategies, shares what science and practice have taught us about building and strengthening community. The first publication in this series, “Emerging Principles for Designing and Implementing Community Change,” has just been released.

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Local Voices: On-the-Ground Perspectives on Driving Community Change in the Making Connections Sites (July 2014)

This report describes, from the perspective of local stakeholders, the experience of several sites involved in Making Connections — the Foundation’s signature community change initiative of the 2000s — in developing and enhancing the core capacities essential for articulating and pursuing a local community change agenda. The report describes the conditions in the communities when Making Connections began; the core capacities built during the decade-long initiative; the factors that contributed to capacity building; the evidence of improved outcomes for children, families and neighborhoods resulting from the enhanced change capacities; the continuing challenges of sustaining those capacities; and key takeaways from the experience.  

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Addressing Health Disparities Through Organizational Change-Evaluation Report (April 2012)

In 2006, The Colorado Trust funded 14 organizations to improve their cultural competency in order to strengthen their capacity to reduce health disparities.  Community Science was engaged to evaluate the initiative, specifically assessing: 1) changes in cultural competency among grantees, 2) the influence of cultural competency changes on grantee interventions and short -term outcomes, 3) factors and conditions needed to bring about positive changes in organizational cultural competency, and 4) grantee progress and accomplishments over time.  

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The Importance of Culture in Evaluation

The Importance of Culture in Evaluation, a publication funded by The Colorado Trust, provides insights to help guide the complex dynamics between evaluators, funders and stakeholders of different cultures. The report provides examples of where cross-cultural competency is critical in evaluation and recommends questions and strategies that an evaluator should consider when practicing this form of cultural competency. 

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