Creating Safe Spaces: A Community Health Worker-Academic Partnered Approach to Addressing Intimate Partner Violence

Authors: Ashley Wennerstrom, PhD, MPH; Catherine Haywood, BSW; Maeve Wallace, PhD, MPH; Meredith Sugarman, MPH; Ashlee Walker, LMFT; Trupania Bonner; Yana Sutton; Barbara Lacen Keller; Marva Lewis, PhD; Benjamin Springgate, MD, MPH; Katherine Theall, PhD
Year: 2018
State: NatDoc: National Document
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: Competencies, Specialty tracks and supervisor training
Evidence Generation: Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Evidence-based interventions
Sustainable Financing: Including community-based CHWs
Workforce Development: CDC expand CHW work into SDOH, CHW training programs (not cert.), General other (including mention of “employment practices”), Training- Continuing education

Community-academic partnered approaches including community-based participatory research and participatory action research have been suggested as mechanisms to guide re-search and interventions for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), particularly for racial or ethnic minority communities. Community health workers (CHWs) — trusted members of under-resourced communities who promote health equity through individual and community-level activities — have played key roles in developing culturally appropriate research and programs. CHWs have been involved in research focused on improving social determinants of health and physical health outcomes, and in recent years, have been increasingly utilized in efforts focusing on mental health. However, use of CHWs in research aimed at addressing IPV has been limited. We used the principles of community partnered participatory research (CPPR) outlined by Jones and Wells to develop the Safe Spaces project. We aimed to establish a strong academic-community partnership to focus on issues related to experiences of IPV, the prevention of IPV and its associated adverse birth outcomes inNew Orleans, a city characterized by high rates of violent crime, domestic violence, and entrenched racial in-equity in maternal and child health outcomes. Safe Spaces leverages the strengths of a local CHW professional association, multiple community-based agencies, and faculty and research staff from local universities. This article describes the replicable processes, challenges, and recommendations that emerged from the successful development of the partnership.

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