Monday, March 31, 2014

Dealing with domestic violence: Laying the foundations

The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and the school's Office of Community and Global Health Partnerships have been awarded a grant from the Indiana University Foundation’s Women’s Philanthropy Council to support a project that identifies the needs of direct care providers who work with issues related to domestic and interpersonal violence in rural communities. Specifically, this seed money will assist in determining, if established, how a rural center on domestic and interpersonal violence could be utilized as a resource by professionals working in schools, law enforcement, health care, and community-based organizations.

The shape taken by the resource center will depend on the needs assessments and partnerships built within the first year of the project.

The project is overseen by Dr. Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Public Health Programs, and Linda Henderson, Community Relations Specialist in the Office of Community and Global Health Partnerships. Two Master of Public Health graduate students have been hired to assist with the project. Terri Lee is a second year MPH student in Public Health Administration and Michaela Cisney (BSPH ’12) is a first year MPH student in behavioral, social and community health. Both bring experiences working with communities on emergent public health issues.

Among the many planned outcomes, Lee and Cisney will be implementing a community needs assessment in three rural counties in south central Indiana in addition to drafting a strategic plan that will lead to defining the purpose of the center. Henderson explained that the mission of the resource center will be to provide professionals with the tools to implement evidence-based strategies and programs which support the prevention and management of domestic and interpersonal violence problems in their communities.

“Not only could this resource center provide resources to professionals, but it could also provide students, staff and faculty at Indiana University with practical service learning experiences as well as the initiation of scholarly and creative activities that may lead to the development of innovative approaches to the prevention of domestic violence/intimate partner violence.”

The aim of this proposal is to improve the health of people in Indiana and beyond through community-focused and participatory initiatives.

“We understand the importance of collaborative partnerships and must rely on our colleagues to assist in the implementation of educational programs and prevention strategies.

“It is imperative to work collectively with professionals within the IU community and across all campuses as well as with national (e.g. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), state (e.g. Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence) and local (e.g. Middle Way House) organizations that have a long and successful history working in these areas.

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