I completed my practicum at the State University Health Research Center. The HRC was launched in March 2014 by the State School of Medicine. Its mission is to utilize the Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to build the community capacity and leadership for health promotion and disease prevention across the diverse populations of the county.
The HRC is funded by a 5-year, $4.1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of the Prevention Research Centers Program. The PRC is collaborating with various community organizations including the Community Health Center, Korean Community Services, Workers Alliance, and other community organizations.
The core research project of the HRC is Project RICE (Reaching Immigrants through Community Empowerment) and my practicum work was under this project. Project RICE is a five-year community-driven initiative that aims to promote diabetes prevention among immigrants using a community health worker (CHW) model.
My specific task for the practicum was to develop a mental health component for Project RICE. I carried out my assignments under the supervision of a faculty member; Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith is a Professor of Applied Psychology. Dr. Smith conducts research on the impact of immigration, community contexts, individual differences, and racial minority status on the mental health of individuals and families.
On August 17th, I shadowed Dr. Jones for the leadership shadowing experience. Dr. Jones is a Researcher for the PRC. I attended a morning meeting at the Community Health Center with the HRC staff where they discussed the training activities for an upcoming PRC conference. After the meeting, we moved to the PRC offices where I attended another meeting with two community workers and the project coordinators of one of the projects. This afternoon meeting was followed by a conference call to discuss a grant proposal the PRC is preparing. At the end, my shadowing day was concluded by a short talk with Dr. Jones about her insights on career in public health research.
The specific assignments I undertook included: 1) review the literature to identify mental health assessment tools that are suitable for inclusion in Project RICE baseline, 3-month, and 6-month surveys; 2) develop focus group guides specific to each community partner to explore their mental health needs; 3) assist in the curriculum preparation for the stress management and mental health intervention session, and 4) co-author two manuscripts on Asian American mental health, titled “Asian American mental health disparities research: Putting community-based research principles to work” and "Annual Review of Asian American Psychology". Both were submitted to the Asian American Journal of Psychology (AAJP).
I believe that the assignments of my practicum required advanced understanding of the principles of the CBPR, and as such, they were great opportunity to apply what I...