UChicago and Chapin Hall Announce 2021 Joint Research Fund Awards

Studies explore impact of pediatrician consultation on child welfare, pediatric primary care innovations for Latinx families, and community violence exposure assessments

The University of Chicago and Chapin Hall have announced funding for three studies:  the effect of child abuse pediatrician consultations on child welfare investigations and outcomes; the assessment of a pediatric primary care innovation intended to promote health equity for Latinx families; and the feasibility of a Chicago community violence assessment approach. Now in its eighth year, the University of Chicago-Chapin Hall Joint Research Fund awarded a sum of nearly $200,000 to the 2021 awardees. 

The teams and their projects are:  

Dr. Amy Dworsky (Senior Research Fellow, Chapin Hall) and Dr. Veena Ramaiah (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Chicago)

For their study, The effect of the Multi-Disciplinary Pediatric Education and Evaluation Consortium (MPEEC), Drs. Ramaiah and Dworsky will examine whether real-time consultation by child abuse pediatricians has a positive effect on child welfare outcomes by comparing cases involving allegations of serious harm to children under 3 years old with and without involvement of a medically directed, hospital-based program. The proposed project will provide the first insights into the effects of the Multi-Disciplinary Pediatric Education and Evaluation Consortium, a program started in 2001 that aimed to (1) increase collaboration among medical, child welfare, and law enforcement systems; (2) draw upon the expertise of child abuse pediatricians; and (3) improve maltreatment investigators’ decision-making. This work will also explore how program involvement affects child maltreatment investigations from a state investigator perspective.  

Dr. Emma Monahan (Researcher, Chapin Hall) and Dr. Aresha Martinez-Cardoso (Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences) 

In their investigation, The role of pediatric primary care innovations in promoting health equity for Latino families: A longitudinal analysis of Mitigating Toxic Stress Study data, Drs. Martinez-Cardoso and Monahan seek to understand the associations between pediatric primary care innovations, caregiver well-being, and child development outcomes for Latinx families. Beginning as early as infancy, Latinx children face significant inequities in developmental and health outcomes linked to family adversities, including poverty and associated stress. Pediatric primary care innovations that focus on social drivers of health are one promising strategy to address hardships and enhance caregiver capacity through access to concrete supports and increased agency. Drs. Martinez-Cardoso and Monahan will use a mixed methods study to better understand the extent that one healthcare innovation–Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone (DULCE)–promotes health equity for Latinx families. This study has the potential to contribute to healthcare research, policies, and programs, particularly those benefiting Latinx families. Drs. Martinez-Cardoso and Monahan recognize Chapin Hall Associate Researcher Angela Garza’s substantial contributions to their project proposal. 

Dr. Dana Weiner (Senior Policy Fellow, Chapin Hall) and Dr. Sonya Mathies Dinizulu (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience) 

Through their project, Responding to community trauma: A feasibility study of a culturally specific & collaborative assessment model, Drs. Dinizulu and Weiner will study the feasibility of an assessment approach that detects community violence exposure (CVE) and identifies supports to lessen its negative impacts. CVE is a source of toxic stress that disproportionately affects Latinx and African American communities in Chicago, leading to detrimental mental and physical health outcomes and perpetuating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities. Drs. Dinizulu and Weiner will conduct a mixed methods feasibility study of the UChicago Medicine Recovery and Empowerment after Community Trauma (REACT) program to inform the development and evaluation of culturally appropriate interventions. The REACT program responds to CVE challenges with culturally specific interventions, including trauma-informed assessments, care, and clinician trainings.  

“Over the last eight years, The University of Chicago-Chapin Hall Joint Research Fund (JRF) has convened new research partnerships among 38 scholars across the two organizations,” said Anne Farrell, Director of Research at Chapin Hall. “The JRF awards fund shared projects that support emerging researchers, enable innovative initiatives that might not otherwise be funded, and inform individual, family, and community well-being. Past JRF projects have generated important new evidence, influenced policy, and leveraged additional funding. Chapin Hall is proud to partner with The University of Chicago to support these important projects and we look forward to seeing the fruit of these three new awards.”

The Joint Research Fund  fosters long-term, policy-relevant research collaborations between University faculty and Chapin Hall researchers. The funding supports research consistent with our shared commitment to rigorous inquiry and translational impact. In the last 7 years, the Fund made awards to 19 research teams.

The Joint Research Fund Steering Committee, made up of appointees from the University and Chapin Hall, reviewed a number of highly competitive proposals from partnerships of faculty across the University and Chapin Hall staff.

Faculty and staff interested in participating in future years may visit the Joint Research Fund webpage for more information and also sign up for updates and reminders from the Fund.