The primary goal of this proposed DCISIR is to address the mental health needs of children living in urban poverty by advancing research and practice to support the inherent capacity of schools to promote children's mental health. The proposed Center for the Study of Schools as a Context for Urban Children's Mental Health is a virtual center based at the University of Illinois Chicago, linking research programs of leading investigators in education and mental health services research at the University of Virginia, the University of Tennessee, and the Medical University of South Carolina along with leading programs in biostatistics (University of Illinois Chicago) and mental health practice (Community Mental Health Council). We propose that this integration of perspectives will yield a new understanding of the coordination of mental health and educational resources and shift the foci and nature of research on effective interventions for urban youth. This DCISIR is guided by an understanding of schools as organizations and of classrooms as the setting in which critical interactions occur that promote learning and adjustment. This contextual focus aims to identify and leverage indigenous resources within schools and communities to change the social context of schooling for youth in urban poverty and increase the chances for positive mental health and academic outcomes for children. Our program of multidisciplinary research will draw from organizational theory, developmental-ecological theory, and education research to: (a) assess select social contextual factors within urban schools that disrupt or enhance children's education and mental health, (b) identify and mobilize indigenous school and community resources as catalysts for change, and (c) promote and study the feasibility and impact of innovative intervention strategies and methods. Through planned collaborative activities and research projects, the DCISIR will (1) create and adopt novel methodological approaches, (2) apply integrated theoretical perspectives to examine the core dimensions of social context associated with mental health promotion, (3) create and support sustainable community partnerships, and (4) provide training and mentoring for early career researchers working within sustainable interdisciplinary research teams.
to Public Health: The primary goal of this proposed DCISIR is to address the mental health needs of children living in urban poverty by advancing research and practice to support the inherent capacity of schools to promote children's mental health. Through a program of multidisciplinary research, this DCISIR will: (a) assess select social contextual factors within urban schools that disrupt or enhance children's education and mental health, (b) identify and mobilize indigenous school and community resources as catalysts for change, and (c) promote and study the feasibility and impact of innovative intervention strategies and methods.
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