UO1 Cooperative Agreement of $1.4M Awarded to Community Wise Research Project

Dr. Liliane Windsor of the University of Illinois School of Social Work has received a UO1 cooperative agreement award, of $1.4M in direct costs over a four year period, entitled Community Wise: An Innovative Multi-level Intervention to Reduce Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD.)

Community Wise, a community-based participatory research project anchored in critical consciousness theory, was created by the Newark Community Collaborative Board over a period of years to address the rates of alcohol and illicit drug use among residents of “DCAAs” or distressed communities with concentrations of African Americans. The Community Wise intervention was developed and tested in Newark, New Jersey. The recent NIMHD award will allow the Newark Community Collaborative Board to “optimize” Community Wise to make it the most efficacious intervention possible with a delivery cost of approximately $250 per person.

Community Wise consists of three components that contribute to reducing alcohol and illicit drug use in the Newark setting. These components include: Critical Dialogue implemented in a group discussion context; the Quality of Life Wheel, an exercise to identify individual visions and goals for one’s life and family that helps individuals break these down into small, attainable steps, thereby increasing self-efficacy; and, Capacity Building Projects to address community problems which are implemented by group members with support of the NCCB and other community partners.

During the award period, each component of the Community Wise project will be implemented and tracked in terms of its contribution to alcohol and illicit drug use reduction, along with its delivery costs. This will be achieved through a combination of community-based participatory research principles and the technique of Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST), a rigorous framework that seeks to engineer behavioral interventions that are effective and sustainable.

Data from the study will be used to create an optimized Community Wise manual that can be implemented and evaluated in other DCAA localities, and a better understanding of the application of critical consciousness theory to the field of health inequalities related to alcohol and illicit drug use.

NIMHD grant recipients: PIs: Liliane Windsor and Ellen Benoit (Senior Investigator at NDRI, www.ndri.org). Co investigators: Doug Smith (University of Illinois School of Social Work), Rogério Pinto (University of Michigan), and Robert Baxter (Integrity House http://www.integrityhouse.org/).