We at CHIRP are often asked about the CHIRP Research Team and what it does within the context of the CHIRP program. So we asked CHIRP Research Team Principle Investigator/Project Director, Kerry Vachta, to explain. Check out what she had to say!
Kerry Vachta: The CHIRP Research Ream (CRT) is responsible for administering the CHIRP grant – managing the project’s finances, processing partner invoices, serving as the primary liason to our funder (USDA/NIFA) and between the community partners and the University. We are also responsible for the CHIRP research which includes:
1) An umbrella assessment of the impact of participating in CHIRP-funded activities on the health and well-being of Detroit children. That has 3 pieces – a health assessment, an annual fitness assessment and our quarterly Healthy Living Logbooks. Together those help us keep track of whether, on average, children who participate in CHIRP are healthy and physically fit and to get a sense of whether folks are adopting some of the tools and messages they may hear in CHIRP programming in their home lives.
2) An ongoing process evaluation that documents how CHIRP develops over time, the activities, relationships and programming offered by the partners, how they work together, where they collaborate with other organizations and how they seek to impact the health of our community.
3) A program evaluation process that we developed in partnership with the community groups that offer CHIRP-funded programming. They identified the things they hope to share through their CHIRP-funded programming and how they hope the people who participate will benefit from the experience. They also identified ways they hope to impact the community more broadly. We created a survey tool based on the objectives they identified. Then participants in their programs complete that survey to let us know whether and how well those objectives were actually achieved.
4) Dissemination research where we develop and distribute materials based on what our community partners do in their programs and evaluate whether other groups see similar outcomes when they implement the activities using those materials to guide their work.
As PI/PD, I am also responsible for scholarly reporting on the CHIRP research and project so the academic community learns about our work, the achievements of our partners and (one of my primary areas of interest) how to conduct community based participatory research (CPBR) in a way that rebalances the power dynamics and centers the community’s interests in research work. That includes presenting at an annual conference and writing articles for academic journals, often with the assistance of other CRT members.