Session: Forming Equitable Community Academic Partnerships: Building Research Infrastructure to Improve Recovery Outcomes (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

35 Forming Equitable Community Academic Partnerships: Building Research Infrastructure to Improve Recovery Outcomes

Thursday, January 12, 2023: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Desert Sky, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods
Jon Gilgoff, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Julvette Price, Behavioral Health System Baltimore, Tiffinee Scott, Maryland Peer Advisory Council and Erika Shook, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Though it is widely recognized that strong community-academic partnerships enhance the relevance, reception, and results of research studies, there are numerous obstacles to such collaborations. The significant time investment required to foster authentic partnerships conflicts with fast paced environments where clients' needs are central to practitioners and pressures to publish impact researcher choices. Other barriers to effective partnerships include a lack of mutual understanding and shared vocabulary, community distrust of academia based on past and current harms, and a disconnect between long-term benefits of research and the community's need for immediate solutions to social problems. Power imbalances in financial resources and researchers' bias towards academically produced knowledge also has prevented partnerships from forming and flourishing. Within this context, the Innovations in Recovery through Infrastructure Support (IRIS) initiative launched in 2020 at the University of Maryland as a 4-year R24 grant project of the National Institutes on Drug Abuse's HEAL initiative. The project's aim is to build research infrastructure for recovery organizations to develop and disseminate effective opioid recovery supports through equitable community academic partnerships. During IRIS's first two years, we have learned many lessons that reveal strengths of our approach, mistakes made, and areas for further development. In this workshop, we will present how IRIS has worked to embody principles and practices of community-based, community-engaged, and community-driven participatory research. We will also cover related efforts to represent justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of this discussion, IRIS will share lessons learned from its deep stakeholder engagement process. These include the need to provide immediate and concrete benefits for community partners, to maintain an ongoing commitment to representativeness, to reshape researchers' relationship with the community, and for academics to work with humility and accountability. Besides these broad strategies, we also will discuss the following concrete ways to operationalize them: leadership committee and community advisory groups, ongoing trainings and a recovery research fellowship, pilot project grants for community-academic partnerships along with technical assistance for grantees, and a commitment to integrating people with lived experience in all aspects of research. To represent community-academic partnerships in action, IRIS faculty and staff will be co-presenting this workshop with two community partners who are peer recovery leaders. We will also share video testimonials from other partners. Using IRIS as a case study, we will invite workshop participants to apply various concepts and techniques to their own efforts to form community-academic partnerships within and outside of recovery research. We will also facilitate participants' sharing lessons learned from their own work. Modalities will include experiential learning activities through pair share, small group, whole group discussion, and scenarios for practical application. This workshop will enhance academics' ability to engage diverse stakeholder organizations as research partners. It will also strengthen community partners' ability to leverage university resources towards enhanced programming and policy outcomes. The workshop's bidirectional learning process between presenters and participants mirrors the two-way approach to scientific inquiry we will examine together, which recognizes that academics and community partners both bring vital strengths to the research process.
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