This multi-level intervention research project aims to accelerate successful translation of evidence-based family interventions into widespread community practice to reduce behavioral health disparities in underserved and minority communities by improving family resilience and access to services. A five-year researcher/practitioner collaborative will create a centralized community site that establishes The Flint Recovery Corp, a trained workforce of Peer Recovery Advocates who 1) provide peer recovery support services to direct peers into substance abuse treatment, 2) provide peer support for community members engaged in substance abuse treatment, 3) provide peer recovery support services for community members stepping down in the level of care (e.g., intensive outpatient to outpatient) or transitioning out of treatment, and 4) recruit families with drug or alcohol histories, problems, or risk factors into an evidence-based community-wide implementation trial of the Strengthening Families Program (SFP). Participatory action research and empowerment evaluation methods will guide this multi-pronged, multi-level research. One goal of this dissemination research is to reduce health disparities in disenfranchised ethnic and underserved families by improving the existing community/researcher partnership and feedback loops to develop a better understanding of ways to improve the research, training, program, and dissemination of an evidence-based, family intervention the Strengthening Families Program. SFP is 14-session family-focused intervention composed of three major components: parent training, children's skills training, and family interaction. SFP 10 to 14 Years has been found to reduce by 2 to 3 times children?s lifetime diagnosis of depression, social anxiety, phobias, and personality disorder in six randomized control efficacy studies by different research teams with longitudinal studies up to 10 years at 22 years of age. With SFP going to scale in behavioral and mental health centers nationwide and worldwide, questions remain, however, concerning variables contributing to effectiveness under conditions of such broad dissemination and how these finding can be used to avail the program to poor families through third party reimbursement (such as Medicaid). This application represents a unique opportunity to study community participation in research on a citywide basis and to work with Michigan?s newly formed Health Disparities Collaborative.
The specific aims of this innovative study are to: (1) Enhance an existing community/researcher partnership to reduce behavioral health disparities; (2) Field test implementation variables impacting intervention effectiveness in citywide dissemination; and (3) Assess the feasibility of SFP as an eligible program for third party reimbursement. This research project takes place as part of the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center (TCC) for Health Disparities Research on Chronic Disease Prevention within the DHHS-defined Region 5 titled The Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions (FCHES). The TCC targets its initial behavioral health and healthy living activities within Flint, Michigan, with plans to extend the scope and reach of Center activities more generally across the state and nation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1)
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Michigan State University
East Lansing
United States
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Sadler, Richard C; Hippensteel, Christopher; Nelson, Victoria et al. (2018) Community-engaged development of a GIS-based healthfulness index to shape health equity solutions. Soc Sci Med :