The Baltimore City Head Start Chemical Dependency Counselor Training Project (1995-1996)
The Baltimore City Head Start Program (BCHSP) contracted CuSAG to develop and deliver a training model for BCHSP faculty and staff, in order to enhance their skills in addressing the needs of Head Start children from families with one or more drug abusing members. CuSAG created a model of 42 credit hours to cover two primary areas: (1) Introduction to Issues of Chemical Dependency (27 credit hours); and (2) Education and Prevention (42 credit hours) The module created by CuSAG was incorporated as part of the educational criteria set forth by the Maryland Addiction Counselor Certification Board for Alcohol and Other Drugs of Abuse Counselors (MACCB/AOD) .

Center for Minority Health Research (CMHR) (1992-1995)
Building on earlier collaborative work with University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMAB), CuSAG joined the unit again in establishing a CMHR, sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) The Center provided and coordinated research on issues related to sexual and reproductive health, and violence among African American youth in Baltimore. More specifically, the objectives of the CMHR were to: (1) identify, develop, and evaluate interventions designed to improve the health outcomes of urban African American children and youth; (2) advance the methodologies for assessment with data gathering, implementation, and evaluation of health programs targeting urban children and youth; (3) inform and influence local, state and national health policy and the implementation of health programs targeting urban children and youth; and (4) support minority health professionals and researchers working on issues related to health services targeting urban children and youth, and thus contribute to increase in the numbers of such health professionals and researchers..

Baltimore Immunization Project (1992-93)
CuSAG joined quantitative researchers from the UMAB in a subcontract with Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH) in carrying out a multi-method study, sponsored by the CDC, involving investigation of factors contributing to low rates of immunization among inner city children in Baltimore. CuSAG carried out focus group interviews (FGIs), freelists, and pile sorts in an exploration of the cultural domains that might shed light on this phenomenon. Resulting data was also to be used to inform the development of a culturally appropriate/relevant intervention to improve immunization behavior. FGIs and triadic comparisons were among the main methods used.

Consultation to the NASBE National Campaign to Educate the Public and Generate Popular Support for Comprehensive School Health Education Programs (1991-92)
CuSAG was contracted by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to provide technical support, including project design, evaluation research, and the preparation of culturally appropriate education for its project. The research methods used included in-depth ethnographic interviews with youth in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area.

An Ethnography of Context and Decision-Making by Youth, Regarding Risk Behavior (1990-1992)
CuSAG joined UMAB as co-investigators and subcontractors in a National Institutes of Child Health and Development (NICHD) two-year ethnographic study. The research focused on children between 10 and14 years of age who were clients of the UMPD, their parents or primary caretakers, and the neighborhoods in which they resided. The purpose of this two-year study was to use data collected through ethnographic methods to develop a "culturally appropriate/relevant" instrument, which could be administered later to a larger and more representative sample of this same age cohort, in order to explore the cohort's potential risks for HIV and other STDs, drug use/trafficking and violence. A variety of data collecting techniques were utilized including focus group interviews (FGIs) with both parents and youth, "pile sorting" and triadic comparisons, participant observation in the pediatric clinic's catchment neighborhoods and at youth recreation clubs, followed by open-ended interviews with adults and children in the clinic and youth recreation clubs. A majority of the youth and adults with whom CuSAG teams have worked were African American. However, in the focus groups approximately 16% of the participants were white.

Youth Risk Intervention Ethnography (1990-95)
In subcontract to the University of Maryland Medical School’s Pediatric Division (MSPD), CuSAG collaborated on an ethnographic research project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) The purpose of the research was to gather data to inform the development of culturally and population relevant HIV prevention interventions that would address youth issues of AIDS, STDs, drug use, drug trafficking, and violence. Data gathering techniques included focus group interviews (FGIs), pile sorts, triadic comparisons, psychometric scales (some of which were modified to make them more culturally and community relevant), participant observation, and ethnographic interviews. These methods were first employed in the development of a longitudinal survey instrument used to collect data on knowledge, attitudes, and risk behaviors of youth between the ages of 9 and 15, as well as their perceptions of peer behaviors, and the composition of their peer networks. This instrument has had particular appeal to the youth in the study, because it was administered via "talking" computer. Over 400 youth, in six housing developments took the survey. The resulting intervention, called "Focus On Kids", consisted of peer group discussions. CuSAG also assisted in the formation of a community adult advisory board and a youth advisory board to allow for community input into all phases of the project. CuSAG’s consultation continued throughout the intervention by the way of ethnographic research in the neighborhoods, as well as longitudinal interviews with a small number of youth (4-6 girls/4-6 boys) in order to enable and facilitate process evaluation of the intervention, and to provide qualitative data to reinforce and expand upon the community survey data.

 

   

CuSAG: The Cultural Systems Analysis Group
Department of Anthropology  |  University of Maryland
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