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OUR NEWS

On this page, you'll find news about Community Science – our latest publications, press releases and staff announcements. We're expanding so keep checking back!

Taking a Community Approach to Improving the Lives of Boys and Young Men of Color

Recent events have brought the challenges facing boys and young men of color in the United States to the forefront of the national debate. Despite decades-long efforts to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunity, boys and young men of color continue to face significant social and economic barriers that limit their opportunities for success. Many boys and young men of color are more likely to grow up in poverty, live in economically depressed communities, and attend low-performing schools when compared with other groups. Many are less likely to have a high school diploma, less likely to attend college or technical school, and more likely to be jobless than other groups as they move into early adulthood. Boys and young men of color are often the target of negative social and cultural perceptions related to their ethnic, cultural, linguistic, or racial background which may result in discrimination or unequal treatment by individuals or societal institutions. Negative or traumatic experiences stemming from these social and economic barriers may inflict psychological or emotional damage over time in the form of low self-image, depression, limited self-efficacy, and feelings of hopelessness.

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Working Toward Equitable Outcomes In Mississippi

In 2007, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation identified Mississippi as a key state where the Foundation would concentrate its grantmaking efforts; it has committed to supporting local communities for at least a generation. The Foundation works with grantee partners that are implementing programs and initiatives designed to improve the lives of children and families throughout the state, with grants concentrated in the geographic areas of Biloxi; Sunflower County; and the state capitol, Jackson.

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Community Science Conducts Successful Webinar on Assessing the Effectiveness of Affordable Care Act Outreach and Education Efforts

As part of our recognition of National Minority Health Month, Community Science hosted a webinar How to Assess the Effectiveness of Affordable Care Act Outreach and Education Efforts on April 29, 2015. Kien Lee (Vice President and Principal Associate) and Oscar Espinosa (Senior Associate) discussed strategies and lessons learned from an evaluation project their team completed for the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). The purpose of the webinar was to provide insights to others who are conducting, funding, or planning Affordable Care Act (ACA) outreach or education to racially and ethnically diverse populations. 

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Staff Profile: Tracy Neill Joins Community Science

Tracy Neill, Office Manager, joined Community Science in February 2015. She brings over 20 years in office management experience, including management of small businesses. At Community Science, she manages the company’s facilities and administrative functions, as well as provides support for human resources, financial management, marketing and event management, and report production. She oversees the adherence and compliance of office policies and procedures, coordinates travel arrangements, administers the company benefits, and manages the company’s website and production of marketing materials.

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Sharing What We Learn

Creating a Culture of Measurement and Evaluation for High Performance Nonprofits

On May 14, 2015, Community Science Principal Associate Meg Hargreaves, Ph.D., M.P.P., presented at the 7th Civil Society Days Nirun Sahingiray International Forum II titled Measurement and Evaluation in NonProfit Organizations in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Developing Goals, Metrics, and Indicators for Health Equity Evaluations

On May 20, 2015, Community Science Principal Associate Meg Hargreaves, Ph.D., M.P.P., presented at the 7th Annual Empowering Communities for a Healthy Mississippi Conference titled Lead, Connect, and Inspire in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: A Population with Different Histories, Assets, and Needs

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we would like to highlight the integral role that Asian Americans play in American history, the issues they face, and how Community Science is contributing to promoting the health and well-being of members of this diverse population.

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Community Science Staff Present at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

On February 13, 2015, Kien Lee, Ph.D., Principal Associate/Vice President, and Brandon Coffee-Borden, M.P.P., Associate, delivered a presentation at the offices of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (the Trust) for 12 members of the Trust and implementation team of Project Lazarus, a project of Community Care of North Carolina. The Trust engaged Community Science to study aspects of Project Lazarus, an initiative designed to address the ongoing challenge of prescription opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose in the state of North Carolina. Community Science used cross-case study methodology to identify patterns and lessons learned across six counties where the initiative is being implemented. The evaluation team conducted site visits and telephone interviews with stakeholders in each county to understand how the initiative is unfolding, and to identify challenges, successes, and lessons learned. 

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Understand the Differences and the Similarities in Communities

Funders, policymakers, and practitioners often see “the community” as a single entity. The community is everyone who lives or works in a place. At best, community members are thought of in terms of sectors (e.g., residents, businesses, law enforcement, human services, etc.).  Yet to be more successful in our work, we need to take a granular look at the place where people live and work, and understand the actual community; social relations; sense of belonging, influence, and trust; and emotional ties that people have.  Whether it is about community building, prevention services, or policy advocacy, certain institutions (formal and informal) play key roles as access points for members of that community. These include faith institutions, professional or trade associations, community centers, schools, sororities and fraternities, and civic groups. Such organizations form the social support structure for members of a group or community; however, they may have different functions in different cultures.

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Knowing the Community Is Key to Delivering Effective ACA Outreach and Education

The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 marked an important change in the course of healthcare regulation and reform in the U.S. The law aims to cut the uninsured rate in the nation and expand public and private insurance coverage options through the introduction of new requirements and provisions such as the state Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Community Science, in partnership with other organizations involved in the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA), worked to document the outreach and education activities conducted by a select number of members of the NPA’s Regional Health Equity Councils in various states, including Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, and Ohio.  The events were designed specifically to inform vulnerable populations on the ACA and its enrollment process. Analyses of data collected by outreach and education event organizers showed that outreach events that were most effective were held in locations that were convenient to the target population (i.e., easy to get to, familiar, comfortable, and safe). These locations included places of worship, education settings, community health centers, and health fairs.

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Staff Profile: Ellen McCann, Ph.D., Joins Community Science

Ellen McCann, Ph.D., joined Community Science as a Managing Associate on March 16, 2015. At Community Science, Dr. McCann manages the day-to-day implementation of the evaluation of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities as well as the evaluation of regional efforts to reach out to and educate racial and ethnic minorities about the Affordable Care Act, both funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.  

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Community Science Managing Associate Julia Lee, Ph.D., Presents Financial Coaching Field Scan Findings at Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation brought a small group of national, regional, and community-based grantmakers together to present the findings from research of financial coaching practices. At the meeting, Dr. Lee, along with former Community Science Principal Associate Scott Hebert, presented findings from a financial coaching field scan, which included a discussion of current practices, outcomes, and recommendations for the field.

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Community Science Annual Charitable Giving Campaign Provides Support to 21 Organizations

This year, Community Science invited clients and other colleagues to participate in our annual tradition of charitable giving. We identified six organizations that align with our mission "to strengthen the science and practice of community change in order to build healthy, just, and equitable communities," and asked everyone to choose an organization they’d like for us to support with a $5 donation on their behalf:

A Wider Circle
Feeding America
Identity, Inc
Jobs With Justice
One DC
The Wounded Warrier Project

Our community expressed appreciation for the opportunity to support these organizations as well as enthusiasm for the creative approach to promote engagement. One of our clients said, “This is not only a generous act, but a great idea!” We are grateful to all who responded to our invitation.

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Community Science Associate Jessika Bottiani, Ph.D., M.P.H., Presents at the Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural Competency Mini-Conference

On December 2, 2014, Community Science Associate Jessika Bottiani, Ph.D., M.P.H., gave a talk at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for the Room to Grow:  Journey to Cultural Competency Mini-Conference, sponsored by Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, and the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions.  Her talk was entitled, “Schools as Developmental Contexts:  Implications of Racial Inequity in Adolescents’ School Experiences.” 

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Staff Profile: Kumbie Madondo, Ph.D., Joins Community Science

Kumbie Madondo, Ph.D, Analyst, has extensive knowledge about racial and ethnic disparities in health and, in particular, trends and issues related to HIV/AIDS, poverty, and the role of technology in facilitating civic engagement. She is skilled in conducting qualitative and quantitative studies, including the use of path analysis and other statistical models.

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Working Toward a Stronger, Diverse Nation

Community Science has been at the forefront in advancing the field of immigrant integration by contributing to the understanding of the changing landscape of the U.S., defining what healthy integration of immigrants and refugees is, and studying how community-building strategies can contribute to immigrant integration, to name a few. The following are several of Community Science’s recent projects:

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Evaluating Federal Support of Communities Combating Health Disparities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) contracted with Community Science to conduct a multi-year process and outcome evaluation of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). The NPA is a strategy designed to mobilize a nationwide, comprehensive, community-driven approach to combating racial and ethnic health disparities. 

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Changing Environments to Prevent Substance Abuse

Community Science brings an environmental approach to substance prevention. We understand that successful environmental prevention efforts must include policy change, address differences in culture and race, equity, and focus on efforts that change systems and structures that impede health and promote unsafe behaviors. Too often, efforts to address substance abuse prevention focus solely, or predominately, on changing individual behavior and attitudes.

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Staff Profile: Meg Hargreaves, Ph.D., Joins Community Science

Public health expert Margaret B. Hargreaves, Ph.D., joined Community Science as Principal Associate on February 4, 2015.  In her new role, Dr. Hargreaves will contribute to Community Science’s long and established track record in leading community change, business development, and project direction, providing valuable mentorship to early-career professionals.

“Meg’s rigor, deep thinking, and passion for community and systems change will strengthen our ability to assist our clients to build community capacity,” said Community Science Principal Associate and CEO David Chavis, Ph.D. “Meg has been a kindred spirit, and now she will be part of our community. Her national experience working with public and private funders, providing valuable thought leadership, guidance, and evaluation services, is a great addition to our company.”

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Changing College Environments to Prevent and Treat Tobacco Use

Community Science has started work with the Legacy Foundation on projects related to tobacco prevention and cessation on college campuses throughout the U.S. Through a multi-organizational collaborative consisting of Legacy and nine partner organizations, the Tobacco Free Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Initiative seeks to support HBCUs in developing and implementing comprehensive policies for tobacco-free campuses. Community Science will evaluate this initiative by 1) providing a culturally responsive evaluation for the Tobacco Free HBCU Initiative that will consider the unique features of historically Black colleges; and 2) using culturally appropriate assessment tools to evaluate the unique characteristics of HBCUs.

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Exploring School Diversity

Community Science Associate, Jessika Bottiani, Ph.D., M.P.H., participated on a panel at the 2015 Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting on March 19-21 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The panel explored the benefits and challenges of racial and ethnic heterogeneity and diversity and same-race peer representation in schools, with a focus on boys of color. Other panelists included faculty from the University of Virginia and the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Webinar: How to Assess the Effectiveness of ACA Outreach and Education Efforts

This webinar will provide organizations that are conducting, funding, or planning, ACA outreach and education to racially and ethnically diverse populations with insights on assessing the reach and effectiveness of those activities. The webinar will focus on lessons learned from an evaluation conducted by Community Science and will present information on:

  • Methods to assess the effectiveness of ACA outreach and education efforts;
  • Results of outreach efforts in terms of reach, knowledge gain, and uptake;
  • Conclusions/Recommendations for enhancing outreach in future enrollment periods; and
  • Strategies for engaging and collaborating with community-based organizations.

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Staff Profile: Julia Lee, Ph.D.

Julia Lee, Ph.D., Managing Associate, has experience in research, evaluation, and health promotion in community settings. She has provided technical support for several health and social science research projects on health disparities, intimate partner violence, and community development. Dr. Lee has also worked extensively with community organizations and coalitions as well as local schools on program evaluation and evaluation capacity building by providing technical assistance, education, and training on monitoring and evaluation, measurement, data collection, and reporting. 

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Health Equity Resources for Community Based Organizations

For a list of presentations, workshops and other resources from our Knowledge for Equity conference, please click HERE.


Ending Health Disparities Means Building the Capacity to Change Communities

Ending health disparities means addressing its social determinants or attacking the problem at its roots where people live, work, and play. This means changing the conditions in communities of color that affect their health. This approach also requires changing the systems that impact these conditions.

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Community Matters: A Series About Building and Strengthening Community

Community Science is proud to announce the publication, Emerging Principles for Designing and Planning Community Change. This is the first report in the series called Community Matters: Action Principles, Frameworks, and Strategies, which is intended to share what decades of research and practice have taught us about building and strengthening community.

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