Penn State partnership helping urban communities
Work by Professor of Psychology Kristin Buss and the Harrisburg Center for Healthy Child Development (HCHCD) has been featured by Penn State News.
Asthma, obesity, and behavior problems are just a few of the risks low-income and minority children face, but a Penn State-community partnership is providing support to help these families through a variety of research projects.
Funded by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, PACT was formed in 2007 after developmental and family researchers expressed a need for increasing the diversity of families in their research studies. “Prior to this initiative, efforts to recruit families with infants and young children from underserved urban areas in Harrisburg were very challenging,” said Kristin Buss, PACT and HCHCD director and professor of psychology at Penn State. “Community leaders said families felt a lack of reciprocity and were concerned that participation in research would not benefit them or the community.”
In order to overcome barriers to doing research within the community, improve community-university relations, and build trust with lower income and minority families, Penn State researchers consulted with community leaders, and a community advisory board was created. “Through the board, researchers established a presence in the community and discovered ways of giving back and providing research support to build stronger families and neighborhoods,” Buss explained.