Exploring the invisible history of local Indianapolis. Helping seniors with memory loss. Finding and removing dangerous lead from soil. Creating a system that protects children and keeps them in school. What do all of these things have in common? The community-based research supported by the Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship.
In April 2017, the Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship awarded two innovative faculty members with a year of support for their community-based research that addresses a community issue in Central Indiana. Created in 2015 in recognition of the former chancellor's leadership and contributions to the campus and the community, this fellowship reflects Bantz's dedication to research that creates university-community partnerships and results in community impact.
Gabriel Filippelli, professor of earth sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI, received $50,000 for his research project titled “Building healthy cities through community-engaged science and action: Getting the lead out.” He is seeking to understand the cause of lead poison in Indianapolis in collaboration with youth leadership programs and community based organizations to research and be ambassadors in the community in order to gain knowledge to stop the exposure of lead.
Filippelli said, “This will help me engage a cadre of very passionate youth leaders within our current network of community based organizations to both implement the project at a neighborhood scale, and also to gain leadership skills.” He continued, “I hope to be able to finally nail down the hot spots of contamination that are present in Indianapolis and a lot of other cities, but we just don’t know where they are." "The second thing I hope to achieve is a university-community connection where we are seen as an organization that provides important expertise and vehicles to help communities, but also provide them with the tools to help themselves,” said Filippelli.
Carolyn Gentle-Genitty, Director of the Bachelor of Social Work program and associate professor of social work in the IU School of Social Work at IUPUI, received the 2017 Community Scholar Award of $25,000 for her research project titled “Pathways to school success: Evaluation and support program (ESP) partnership with community partner Warren Township schools.” Her project will examine a consistent thread of challenges that k-12 students have who are suspended or expelled for disruptive behavior, resulting in school drop-outs. Her focus will include a pivot model approach in collaboration with Warren Township schools, police officers, probation officers, school counselors, social workers and more that will support students for a successful return back in school.
“The end result is that we have a consistent process of best practices that work in helping to disrupt the school to prison pipeline,” said Genitty. “Let’s pilot test it, and then essentially write up the findings and results into a model that other people can replicate. Whether it’s Warren or another school, or another state, maybe another country in terms of disrupting the school to prison pipeline.”
At the May, Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship Appreciation Luncheon, the 2016 awardees passed the baton to the 2017 awardees and reported the findings of their community projects and next steps.
Paul Mullins and Susan Hyatt, anthropology professors in the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, received $50,000 in 2016 for their joint project titled “Invisible Indianapolis: Race, Heritage, and Community Memory in the Circle City” in partnership with the Concord Community Center and Ransom Place Neighborhood Association. Their project focused on the histories of communities throughout Indianapolis that most people know little about that they named “Invisible Indianapolis.”
“Sue and I had been doing some of this work for nearly 20 years, relatively individually, and now we both have had a year to work together intensively,” said Mullins. “In the space of a year we did probably what would have otherwise taken quite a long time. It gave us a whole bunch of new data.” To learn more about this project, click HERE.
Richard Holden, assistant professor of health informatics in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, received $25,000 in 2016 for his research into brain health-promoting information technology, in partnership with Joy’s House and Mental Health America Indianapolis. His research focused on Alzheimer’s disease and dementias. Today, according to the most recent data, there are 5.5 million people currently living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in the US. By 2050, the projections are about 50 million. There is currently no cure.
“Our hope is to influence the health of people in the community, and then go beyond the local community to influence health nationwide and worldwide,” said Holden. “We know we can’t do it alone as researchers, so having these partners who are going to continue the mission and help us disseminate what we’ve done, is probably our most likely path to that impact.” To learn more about this project, click HERE.
For more information about the Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship, click HERE.