2015 Faculty Community Pilot Grants

In 2015, the UMB Center for Community-Based Engagement and Learning (CBEL) awarded pilot grants to seven teams of faculty and graduate students from across the University.

Submitted applications were reviewed by a panel of research faculty from all six professional schools based on the following criteria:

  • Significant to the campus and community.
  • Strengthens community partnerships.
  • Translatable project findings to future actions or grants.
  • Situated in or highly relevant to West Baltimore.

Teams consisting of faculty and graduate students were required to propose projects that would support pilot research to advance community-based service, learning, and scholarship conducted in partnership with communities surrounding UMB. Grantees presented their findings at the CBEL Community Grants Celebration in the fall of 2015. The awarded grants supported the following projects:

Poppleton Community Development Corporation Community Engaging and Strengthening Project

Principal Investigator:

Wendy Shaia, EdD, MSW, School of Social Work

Clinical Instructors:

Martha Stuart, LGSW, Lane Victorson, LGSW, School of Social Work

Social Work Graduate Student: Megan Tschoepe

Award: $20,000

The Poppleton CDC Community Engaging and Strengthening Project supported a multifaceted effort led by the Social Work Community Outreach Services. This project facilitated a community-strengthening strategy that aimed to maximize resident participation, build leadership and alliances, and overall build the constituency of concerned and empowered residents of the Poppleton CDC community. This community-strengthening initiative is being evaluated using an evidence-based tool to determine how much the resident’s sense of cohesion and collective efficacy has increased as a result of our work. To learn more, see the Poppleton CDC Presentation.

Making Connections: Community-University Collaboration in Southwest Baltimore

Principal Investigator:

Amy Cohen-Callow, PhD, School of Social Work


Polly Reinicker, Elizabeth Weber Megan Thomas, School of Social Work

Award: $20,000         

One goal of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s strategic plan is to increase collaboration with community members and organizations. This project used community-based participatory research (CBPR) to investigate how community members and organizations in Southwest Baltimore want to work with the University and what resources the University has to work with the community. The research team, the Southwest Partnership, and community and student researchers developed and implemented forums and brief surveys distributed to the community and held meetings with University offices and student groups. The goals of the project were to create a sustainable method of connecting community needs with University resources and to build relationships between members of the University and Southwest Baltimore communities interested in collaboration. The results of this project have illustrated the overlapping interests, needs, goals, and resources between the University and the community. The results also were critical for directing the development of the University's new Campus Engagement Center, where faculty, staff, students, and community members can make direct connections for collaboration. To learn more about this project, download the Making Connections Presentation and Making Connections Summary of Findings

Aging in Place in Baltimore: Evaluation of a Hub & Spoke Village Model

Prinicipal Investigator:

Joan K. Davitt, PhD, MSS, MLSP, Associate Professor & Hartford Geriatric, Social Work Faculty Scholar, UM School of Social Work


Amanda Lehning, PhD, MSS, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Mary Rivas, Graduate Research Assistant, School of Social Work

Award: $18,800 and $5,000 toward their community organization

Preventive interventions that allow older individuals to voluntarily remain in their current residence/community despite potential declining health focus on aging in place. One prominent emerging social initiative supporting aging in place is the Village model. Villages are "self-governing, grassroots, community-based organizations developed to enable people to remain in their homes and communities as they age." Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., facilitates a Village initiative in Northwest Baltimore, Northwest Neighbors Connecting, and a Village development hub, Supportive Community Network. This proposed pilot established a partnership between SCN/NNC and researchers at UM to develop and implement evaluation and measurement metrics for the NNC and a strategic assessment plan for the SCN, to provide initial effectiveness data, and further replication of the Village model. Results from this pilot have informed future evaluation efforts of Villages and the replication of and success of the Village model in Baltimore and across the country. To learn more about the project, see Aging in Place Presentation.

Through the Looking Glass: Benjamin Franklin High School Photovoice Project

Principal Investigator

Theda Rose, PhD, MSW Research Assistant Professor (PI), School of Social Work

Co-Principal Investigators

Tanya L. Sharpe, PhD, Associate Professor, Corey Shdaimah, PhD, Associate Professor, Dante de Tablan, MSW, PhD Student, School of Social Work

Award: $17,920.20.  

“Through the Looking Glass” used photo voice (a participatory action research method) to explore urban youth perceptions of coping, agency, and well-being in under-resourced environments. With this innovative approach, youths captured images that represent the aforementioned constructs and co-created meaning and knowledge around those images based on their lived experiences. Student work has been displayed in the school and community. Researchers, school administrators, and students decided together how this information can lead to the creation of additional programs, services, and advocacy efforts that promote these positive assets among youths. Our community school partner, Benjamin Franklin High School (BFHS), has an ongoing relationship with the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The project took place at BFHS over the span of one school year, from inception and recruitment to the exhibition of student photos/themes. To learn more about the project, see Through the Looking Glass Presentation.


Rose, T., Sharpe, T., Shdaimah, C., & deTablan, D. (under review). Through the looking glass: Exploring coping among urban youth through photovoice. Journal of Adolescent Research

Rose, T. Shdaimah, C., deTablan, D., & Sharpe, T. (under review). Exploring well-being and agency among urban youth through photovoice. Children & Youth Services Review. 

Improving the Health of the Children of Upton/Druid Heights: A Unique Collaboration to Motivate and Educate Families through Health Learning Parties

Principal Investigator:

Linda Orkin Lewin, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine


Bronwyn Mayden, MSW, Assistant Dean, Continuing Professional Education, Executive Director, Promise Heights, School of Social Work

Brenda Hussey-Gardner, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

Award: $17,165 and $5,000 toward their community organization

The Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood of West Baltimore is an impoverished area with poor health indicators. Promise Heightsis an initiative of the UM School of Social Work to provide its residents with a range of needed services. The School of Medicine’s pediatrics department collaborated with a local organization, Ready at Five,to create "Health Learning Parties," an engaging curriculum promoting optimal health care in children. Grantees proposed bringing Health Learning Parties to West Baltimore families by partnering with the SSW and two elementary schools in the Promise Heights neighborhood. Three Health Learning Parties, each including five individual sessions, were held over a one-year period. Investigators studied the change in the number of participating children who have a primary care physician, emergency department, and urgent care use before and after participating, and the caregiver’s confidence in their ability to manage their children’s health and access the health care system. To learn more about the project, see Health Learning Parties Presentation.

Restorative Approaches to Conflict Management for School Success

Principal Investigator:

Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, JD, Associate Professor and C-DRUM Faculty Director, School of Law


Kerishe Allen, JD, Law School Mediation Clinic

Award: $19,892

This pilot project increased the capacity of schools to manage conflict effectively to improve academic achievement. The Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law (C-DRUM) and the Mediation Clinic partnered with Callaway Elementary in West Baltimore to implement and evaluate the impact of three interventions: 1) restorative practices to build stronger relationships and foster engaged learning environments; 2) student socio-emotional skill development through an anti-violence curriculum (“Second Step”); 3) mediation services by Mediation Clinic law students to address students conflicts. Under the leadership of Associate Professor Deborah Eisenberg, C-DRUM and the Mediation Clinic provided intensive training and services to Callaway for one year and measured the impact of these interventions on disciplinary data, student attendance, and perceptions of school climate by students and staff. After evaluation in a written report and scholarship are complete, the model can be adopted at other schools. To learn more about the project, download the Restorative Practices Summary of Findings and the Restorative Practices Presentation.

WALK BALTIMORE: A Community Partnership to Increase Outdoor Walking

Co-Principal Investigators:

Kathleen Michael, PhD, RN, CRRN, Barbara Resnick, PhD, ARNP, FAAN, University of Maryland School of Nursing

Award: $19,244

Regular community walking is a simple activity that may improve health, function, and quality of life in older adults. There are, however, deterrents to safety that may prevent people from walking in the West Baltimore neighborhood. Two under-addressed safety issues that affect walking behaviors are impaired hearing and foot problems. Grantees proposed an interprofessional project for residents of the Mount Clare Overlook Apartments, providing ear examinations, cleaning and hearing testing with free/low-cost referrals provided as needed; and foot care and fitting of sneakers for walking. Students from the schools of nursing and medicine teamed to conduct the screening and care interventions. Participants received education about the benefits of daily walking, sneakers for walking, pedometers, behavioral strategies to enhance self-efficacy, and maps of walking routes in the adjacent neighborhood. The project culminated in a community walk titled Walk Baltimore, with all study participants and researchers joining together. To learn more about the project, see WALK BALTIMORE Presentation.


Resnick, B., Michael, K., Hammersla, M., Galik, E., Klinedinst, J., Torain, J., Katz, D., & Donlan, J. (under review). Community Engagement and Health Promotion in Senior Housing.