25 Jun CTSI & Office of Community Engagement Fund Community-Engaged Seed Grant
Merle Orr, MD, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, and his community partner, Shalina Ali, co-executive director of TRUE Skool, have received funding for their proposal, “Developing a culturally adapted intervention to increase physical activity among young African-American men with spinal cord injury due to gun violence: A pilot study.”
The MCW Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Community Engagement and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin are jointly supporting this $50,000 seed grant award through their respective parent awards from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Research and Education Program, a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at MCW.
With a focus on survivorship of gun violence, this project will engage young, African-American men who have a spinal cord injury due to gun violence with community partners and clinicians to increase physical activity to improve functional independence, quality of life, and healthy behaviors. Prior initiatives have primarily focused on reducing homicides due to gun violence; however, few have focused on the recovery and community reintegration of survivors of gun violence. This project seeks to implement a culturally-anchored model and approach, with academic medicine partnering with community organizations that function in the cultural context of this population. If successful, this model will fill a gap in resources to support the health and wellness in this population and may be applied both within the city of Milwaukee and in other urban settings.
This project represents promising translational research in the areas of health disparities and recruitment strategies for community participation in research, with a focus on the Milwaukee area. It also seeks to advance understanding of how community engagement can be conducted in complex research settings, including through sustainable and authentic community-academic partnerships. In addition, the funded project demonstrates clear relevance and importance to the work Dr. Orr does on campus and, more importantly, to the community members involved in the project.