UIW Receives Major Health Grant

April 30, 2020

Action Research Program supporting Community Health and Wellbeing at the center of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Support

San Antonio – April 30, 2020 – The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is proud to announce it has received a major grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The $229,000 grant will go to support the Community Participation for Health and Wellbeing Project, a pilot project at UIW to support design, testing and evaluation of action research approaches that increase participation and strengthen existing community health and wellbeing efforts with target groups. The project is led by Dr. Alfredo Ortiz Aragón and Dr. Arthur Hernandez in the UIW Dreeben School of Education.

“The grant will offer community health workers an opportunity to become more reflective practitioners and add research to their existing innovative community engagement work,” says Ortiz Aragón. “Professors and doctoral students at UIW will have unique opportunities to get the community into the classroom and the classroom into the community – ideally resulting in more relevant educational and research processes.”

The grant will be implemented in partnership with the City of San Antonio’s Metro Health, Healthy Neighborhoods Program, with whom the faculty have been actively developing relationships over the last four years. In addition to working with the Healthy Neighborhoods Program, the grant will allow work with a group of parents and caretakers of children on the autism spectrum.

“We will explore opportunities for knowledge generation from under-accessed actors as well as interaction between those actors to learn about the dynamics of and social mechanisms for community-led and driven health and wellbeing,” says Hernandez. “This ‘community-based’ learning is different from usual researcher-based learning. We are examining the difference and seeking to learn how to capitalize on that difference to improve impact and sustainability of existing health and wellbeing programming, and to develop frameworks for the future inquiry and development of programs.”

The New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, the Foundation has supported research and programs targeting some of America’s most pressing health issues in an effort to work alongside others and build a national Culture of Health.