Community THRIVES Lab

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." - Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970
Room Number: 
1242V
Office Phone Number: 
301-405-2029
Email: 
aparicio@umd.edu

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Community THRIVES Lab conducts community-engaged, transformative health research at the intersection of family violence, early childhood, and adolescent sexual health intervention. Partnering with youth, families, and communities on research to improve health equity and bolster resilience, we aim to inform and test innovative approaches to improving adolescent sexual health and well-being, reducing unplanned and early pregnancy, nurturing young families, ending intergenerational cycles of child abuse and neglect, and intervening early with our youngest kids to help families thrive. This work takes a village. Join us!

January 2019

We recently released a new study exploring how teen mothers in foster care experience pregnancy and birth. This is part of a larger phenomenological exploration the meaning and experience of motherhood among young women in and transitioning from foster care. Check out this and our other publications here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Un1LI_cAAAAJ&hl=en

November 2018

Teenage parenting is a challenging venture - particularly when parenting while homeless. We recently released a study that explores the experience of three young homeless and parenting teens (one mother and two fathers) in the first known study of teenage parenting and homelessness among Native Hawaiian youth, a key affected population. Youth shared experiences of childhood, early experiences of pregnancy and parenting while homeless, and how they are finding their way as young homeless parents currently. Reach out to us for a copy of this article or read this and our other articles here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Un1LI_cAAAAJ&hl=en

September 2018

We are excited to announce release of our first publication from the Wahine Talk project, which introduces the intervention, discusses its development, and provides participant and provider perspectives of the first cycle of implementation. You can find the article here or email us for a copy: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740918300951. Read more about Wahine Talk and our other projects here: http://sph.umd.edu/department/bch/lab/89596.

May 2018

Olivia Kachingwe represented our team at the Society for Prevention Research's Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. to present work she led exploring how homeless female youth experience accessing and selecting birth control. 

April 2018

One of our lab teams was recently in Honolulu, HI working with our community partner Waikiki Health's Youth Outreach (YO!) program. We work with YO! to evaluate a newly developed, holistic sexual health and adolescent pregnancy prevention program called Wahine Talk for youth who are homeless. Learn more about the project here: http://sph.umd.edu/department/bch/lab/89596 and follow us on Twitter @commTHRIVESlab for updates.

Next Chapter Project, Phase 1 (04/01/2018 - present)

Community Partner: Hearts and Homes for Youth (Melanie Geddings-Hayes, LCSW-C)

Funding: UMD Maryland Catalyst Fund

 

Teen mothers who are in foster care speak with great joy about becoming a parent, though it has many challenges, and express a strong desire to do things differently with their own children than what they experienced in their own families while growing up. In this community-engaged grounded theory study, we are partnering with youth, social worker, and caregiver experts to explore the experience of accessing and receiving parenting support and mental health support among young mothers in foster care.

Fostering Healthy Relationships (05/01/2017 - present)

Community Partner: Hearts and Homes for Youth (Melanie Geddings-Hayes, LCSW-C)

UMD Partner: Prevention Research Center

Funding: UMD Department of Behavioral and Community Health

Youth in foster care are 2-3 times as likely to become pregnant as a teen compared to their peers who are not in care. During this community-based participatory research project, we are partnering with youth, community, and university experts to conduct a needs assessment and create an innovative multi-level sexual health intervention for youth in foster care.

Wahine Talk (07/01/2016 - present)

Community Partner: Waikiki Health's Youth Outreach (YO!) Program (Kent Anderson)

Funding: HHS Office of Adolescent Health

Young women who are homeless experience teen pregnancy at a rate five times greater than their housed peers and engage in myriad sexual risk behaviors (such as unprotected and transactional sex). Systems of care are often ill-equipped to meet their health and well-being needs. To address this gap in care, Wahine Talk was developed by Kent Anderson and his team at Waikiki Health and is run out of a youth drop-in center in Waikiki, a neighborhood in Honolulu, HI with high rates of youth homelessness. Young women are invited to participate in four program components delivered by a team of interdisciplinary providers (social work/public health/nursing): basic needs and social services; peer mentoring; sexual health education groups; and sexual healthcare. Wahine Talk is an incentivized healthcare program: youth receive a cell phone upon entry to facilitate program connectedness, databoosts when they participate, and a second, upgraded cell phone if they elect to adopt a longer-acting contraception option. To date, Wahine Talk has served 51 young women aged 14-22 years. A brief video on the intervention is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcaPjcBAr50 Preliminary outcome article is available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740918300951

Led by Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio, our lab takes a collaborative approach to intervening upon some of our communities' most challenging social determinants of health. We work to both challenge structural inequities and nurture individuals', families', and communities' innate ability to thrive. This work requires teams of dedicated community-based and campus-based researchers. Below are our current research team members.

Elizabeth Aparicio, PhD, MSW, Director

Dr. Aparicio is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health at University of Maryland's School of Public Health. Trained as a clinical social worker, Dr. Aparicio served the community in Washinton D.C. and Maryland for nearly a decade as a trauma-focused licensed clinician, providing individual, family, and group psychotherapy to children and adolescents. Dr. Aparicio focuses on improving health equity through affecting individual and system-level change to improve youth and community well-being via informing and testing interventions in adolescent sexual health, teen pregnancy, and parenting; early childhood intervention; and child maltreatment prevention. She is a dedicated mentor and teacher, serving as a qualitative and mixed-methods methodologist and content expert on multiple PhD dissertation and MPH project committees, and teaching qualitative research methods to graduate students and community health engagement to undergraduate students.

 

 

Faduma Aden, BS Student in Public Health Science

Projects: Fostering Healthy Relationships, Next Chapter Project, Wahine Talk

Faduma Aden is a junior Public Health Science major. She is from Montgomery County, Maryland and originally from Somalia. Faduma currently serves as an undergraduate research assistant in the Community THRIVES Lab and is also involved in both cultural and health organizations on campus. Her professional interests focus on women's health, particularly reproductive and sexual health. Faduma uses she/her/hers pronouns and is particularly interested in community-based participatory work, such as the Community THRIVES Lab's current projects. After she completes her undergraduate program, Faduma hopes to earn her MPH degree with a focus in health behavior and/or health policy, then move on to work in the programming and policy realm of public health. Faduma then hopes earn a PhD in Public Health, with a research focus on improving access to reproductive and sexual health resources for vulnerable populations.

 

 

Kent Anderson, BS, Community Partner (Waikiki Health)

Project: Wahine Talk

Megan Kaleipumehana Cabral, MSW, Community-based Researcher on O'ahu (HI)

Project: Wahine Talk

Amara Channell Doig, MPH, PhD Student in Behavioral and Community Health

Projects: Wahine Talk, Next Chapter Project

Amara Channell Doig, MPH is currently a PhD student in Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science from the University of Georgia and a Master's degree in Public Health from George Washington University. Prior to starting her doctoral program, she worked as a Research Associate and Project Coordinator in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University. In this capacity, she has worked with a local health department to assess breastfeeding and vitamin D practices among mothers receiving WIC and coordinated a childhood obesity research study. She previously worked in Lima, Peru to provide health care and education to impoverished communities as a heath educator. She also worked as a principal advisor on the Peruvian National Nutrition Program. She has performed laboratory research, conducted field work on medical care for children, and performed analyses of the role of the pharmacies in antibiotic overuse. Her research interests include cultural adaptations of interventions for ethnic and racial minorities, the use of social media for public health, pediatric obesity, and infant and toddler feeding practices.

Jamie Fleishman, BS, Community-Based Researcher in Maryland

Project: Wahine Talk

Jamie Fleishman works currently with Asian American LEAD. She is a graduate of the undergraduate program in Community Health in the Behavioral and Community Health Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a Community Health professional, she is interested in reducing health disparities among vulnerable and marginalized populations. She works with Dr. Aparicio in the Community THRIVES Lab as a community-based researcher (formerly, as a student), which has allowed her to understand the history of why health disparities arise and ways to reduce and alleviate them. Conducting research and the process of research dissemination is an important step in order to understand why certain issues exist and to create impactful change, and Jamie is glad to have had the opportunity to contribute.

 

 

Melanie Geddings-Hayes, MSW, LCSW-C, Community Partner (Hearts and Homes for Youth)

Projects: Fostering Healthy Relationships, Next Chapter Project

Michelle Jasczynski, MEd, PhD Student in Behavioral and Community Health

Projects: Wahine Talk, Next Chapter Project 

Michelle Jasczynski is a PhD student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. Her research interests are centered around promoting and protecting adolescent health and wellness in school-based settings. Michelle previously worked for CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepititis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) supporting the school-based HIV/STI prevention work of both the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) and the Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) as a policy fellow and as a field-based program coordinator for the District of Columbia Department of Health's school-based STI/HIV screening program. Michelle received her BA in psychology from Berry College and her Master of Education in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Olivia Kachingwe, MPH, PhD Student in Behavioral and Community Health

Projects: Wahine Talk, Fostering Healthy Relationships

Olivia Kachingwe is a doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. Her research focuses on sexual health decision-making and sexual risk behavior among racial and sexual minority youth. Prior to attending the University of Maryland, Olivia worked as a Project Coordinator for a health equity project funded by the Rhode Island Department of Health. The project was stewarded by the Women's Resource Center, a domestic violence non-profit organization in Newport, Rhode Island. Olivia received her BA in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania and her MPH with a concentration in Health Behavior from Brown University, School of Public Health. To learn more, please contact Olivia via email at okaching@umd.edu.

Eshana Parekh, BS in Human Ecology Student

Projects: Fostering Healthy Relationships, Next Chapter Project, Wahine Talk

Danielle Phillips, MSW, LSW, PhD Student in Social Work at UMB School of Social Work

Projects: Wahine Talk, Next Chapter Project

Danielle Phillips is currently a PhD student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. Her research interests are centered on humanistic issues that often imply a lack of equity and access that affect minorities, particularly women, such as housing, wage equity, reproductive health, racism, mental health, education, and personal safety. Danielle's research focus is on intersectional approaches to social policy analysis and development as related to intergenerational trauma and its effects on families. Danielle received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Hawai'i Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia. Danielle is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in the state of Hawai'i. Prior to relocating to Maryland in August 2018, Danielle formerly worked as the Director of Social Services at Hale Makua Health Services on the island of Maui while serving on the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Hawai'i Chapter Board of Directors as a member-at-large, Chair of the Continuing Education Committee, and Chair of the PACE Committee. Danielle has served as a research assistant with the Wahine Talk project since 2016.

John P. Salerno, MPH, PhD Student in Behavioral and Community Health

Project: Fostering Healthy Relationships

John is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Public Health (SPH), Department of Behavioral and Community Health (BCH). He is also a teaching assistant at the UMD-SPH-BCH, and a graduate research assistant at the Prevention Research Center (PRC) and the Community THRIVES Lab (THRIVES). His sexual/gender and racial/ethnic identities are gay/cisgender man and Hispanic/Latino, and he uses he/him/his pronouns. He received his BA in psychology and MPH in prevention science and community health at the University of Miami (UM). Prior to beginning this doctoral program, he worked at a Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research at the UM School of Nursing & Health Studies. His research there focused on the implementation of precision medicine approaches, adolescent mental health awareness in schools, health promotion/disease prevention among homeless individuals and victims of intimate partner violence, and the health of racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minorities. He has expertise in community engagement, community-based participatory research, program evaluation, and scientific writing within the field of public health. He has a special research interest in LGBTQ+ health, and is particularly interested in research to improve the health of hyper-marginalized LGBTQ+ youth, including those in public systems (child welfare and criminal justice), the homeless, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants/refugees. His current/active research projects target these populations. The overarching goal of his research is to improve the life trajectories of individuals who have less chances to succeed in life and are at risk for health disparities due to their intersectional and marginalized identities. For more information about him and his current/past work, please visit his ResearchGate and Linkedin profile pages (links below). If you would like to learn more about him or his research, please do not hesitate to contact him at Jsalerno@umd.edu.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Salerno4 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-p-salerno-mph-b4620a132

 

Publications:

(*designates co-authored with student/s)

Aparicio, E. M., Shpiegel, S., Grinnell-Davis, C., & King, B. (2019). “My body is strong and amazing:” Embodied experiences of pregnancy and birth among young women in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 199-205.

*Aparicio, E.M., Rodrigues, E., Birmingham, A., & Houser, C. (2018). Dual experiences of teenage parenting and homelessness among Native Hawaiian youth: A critical interpretative phenomenological analysis. Child and Family Social Work, 1-10. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/cfs.12618

*Aparicio, E.M., Phillips, D., Cabral, M.P., Okimoto, T., & Houser, C., & Anderson, K. (2018). Participant and provider perspectives of Wahine Talk: A holistic teen pregnancy prevention program developed with and for homeless youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 93, 467-473.

Aparicio, E. M., Gioia, D., & Pecukonis, E. V. (2018). “I can get through this and I will get through this”: The unfolding journey of teenage motherhood in and beyond foster care. Qualitative Social Work, 17(1), 96-114.

West, A., Aparicio, E., Berlin, L., & Jones Harden, B. (2017). Home visitors’ perceptions of supplementing Early Head Start with the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up Program: Implications for implementation. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(4), 514-522.

Aparicio, E. M. (2017). “I want to be better than you”: Lived experiences of intergenerational child maltreatment prevention among teenage mothers in and beyond foster care. Child and Family Social Work, 22, 607-616.

Stephens, T. & Aparicio, E. M. (2017). “It’s just broken branches:” Child welfare-affected mothers’ dual experiences of insecurity and striving for resilience in the aftermath of complex trauma and familial substance abuse. Children and Youth Services Review, 37, 248-256.

Aparicio, E. M., Denmark, N., Berlin, L., & Jones Harden, B. (2016). First generation Latina mothers’ experiences of supplementing home-based Early Head Start with the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up program. Infant Mental Health Journal, 37(5), 537-548.

*Aparicio, E. M., Vanidestine, T., Zhou, K., & Pecukonis, E. V. (2016). Teen pregnancy in Latino communities: Young adult perspectives and experiences of sociocultural context. Families in Society, 97(1), 50-57.

Aparicio, E., Pecukonis, E. V., & O’Neale, S. (2015). “The love that I was missing:” Exploring the lived experience of motherhood among teen mothers in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 51, 44-54.

*Aparicio, E., Pecukonis, E. V., & Carper, K. (2014). Sociocultural factors of teenage pregnancy in Latino communities: Preparing social workers for culturally-responsive practice. Health and Social Work, 39(4), 238-243.

Aquavita, S., Gibbons, M., Aparicio, E., & Pecukonis, E. V. (2014). Student perspectives on interprofessional education: Overcoming barriers and increasing effectiveness of interdisciplinary experiences. Journal of Allied Health, 23(2).

Pecukonis, E., Doyle, O., Acquavita, S., Aparicio, E., Gibbons, M., & Vanidestine, T. (2013). Interprofessional leadership training in MCH social work. Social Work in Health Care, 52(7). doi: 10.1080/00981389.2013.792913

Aparicio, E., Michalopoulos, L. M., & Unick, G. J. (2013). An examination of the psychometric properties of the vicarious trauma scale in a sample of licensed social workers. Health and Social Work, 38(4), 199-206.

Bellin, M. H., Osteen, P., Zabel, T. A., Dosa, N, Aparicio, E., Braun, P., & Dicianno, B. (2013). Family satisfaction, pain, and quality of life in emerging adults with spina bifida: A longitudinal analysis. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92(8), 641-655.

Bellin, M. H., Dosa, N., Zabel, T. A., Aparicio, E., Dicianno, B., & Osteen, P. (2012) Family functioning, self-management and the trajectory of psychological symptoms in emerging adults with spina bifida. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, advance access September 12, 2012, 1-13.

Michalopoulos, L. M., & Aparicio, E. (2012) Vicarious trauma in social workers: The role of trauma history, social support, and years of experience. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 21(6), 646-664.

Presentations:

(*designates co-authored with student/s)

*Kachingwe, O.K., Aparicio, E.M., Houser, C., Fleishman, J.L., Novick, J.G., Phillips, D.R., & Anderson, K. (2018, May). “She was there through the whole process”: Exploring how homeless youth and youth at-risk of homelessness access and select birth control. Poster presented at the Society for Prevention Research 26th Annual Meeting; Washingon, D.C.

*Aparicio, E.M., Birmingham, A., Rodrigues, E. & Houser, C. (2018, January). “They never raised me up:” Dual experiences of teenage parenting and homelessness among Native Hawaiian youth. In Aparicio, E.M. (chair) Parenting in the wake of violence and trauma. Symposium conducted at the Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference; Washington, D.C.

King, B., Aparicio, E.M., Dworsky, A., Massey, K., Shpiegel, S., Grinnell-Davis, C., Smith, R., Faulkner, M., & Lane Eastman, A. (2018, January). Early pregnancy and parenting among foster youth: A national discussion to inform research, practice, and policy. Roundtable presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference; Washington, D.C.

Shpiegel, S., King, B., Aparicio, E.M., Smith, R., & Grinnell-Davis, C. (2018, January). Early parenthood among males emancipating from foster care: Findings from the National Youth in Transition Database. Poster presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference; Washington, D.C.

*Aparicio, E.M., Wey, A., Spellman, C., Foster, A., Keaunui, K., Porter, H., & McKenzie, P. (2017, November). Sociocultural Context of Teenage Pregnancy in Native Hawaiian Communities: A mixed method analysis of population-level predictors and youth perspectives. Paper presented at the American Public Health Association National Conference; Atlanta, GA.

Smith, R. & Aparicio, E.M. (2017, October). “If you don’t ask, I’m not telling you anything”: What works when engaging in real talk with foster youth around dating and sexual behaviors. Roundtable Presentation at the Healthy Teen Network Annual Conference; Baltimore, MD.

Aparicio, E.M. & Smith, R. (2017, October). “If you don’t ask, I’m not telling you anything”: What works when engaging in real talk with foster youth around dating and sexual behaviors. Poster presented at the Healthy Teen Network Annual Conference; Baltimore, MD.

Aparicio, E.M., Shpiegel, S., & Grinnell-Davis, C. (2017, January). “My body is strong and amazing”: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of embodied experiences of pregnancy and birth among foster youth. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 21st Annual Conference; New Orleans, LA.

Grinnell-Davis, C., Aparicio, E.M., & Shpiegel, S. (2017, January). Parenting attitudes among maltreated youth: Implications for prevention strategies. Poster presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 21st Annual Conference; New Orleans, LA.

Shpiegel, S., Aparicio, E.M., Grinnell-Davis, C., & Prince, D. (2017, January). Sexual risk behaviors among adolescents in foster care: The impact of sexual orientation. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 21st Annual Conference; New Orleans, LA.

Stephens, T. & Aparicio, E.M. (2017, January). “It’s just broken branches”: Maternal dual experiences of insecurity and striving for resilience in the aftermath of complex trauma and familial substance abuse. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 21st Annual Conference; New Orleans, LA.

Aparicio, E. (2016, January). Examining the social ecological context of teenage birth among Native Hawaiian youth.  Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 20th Annual Conference; Washington, DC.

Aparicio, E. (2016, January). “I want to be better than you:” Exploring experiences of teen mothers in foster care working to break the cycle of child maltreatment. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research 20th Annual Conference; Washington, DC.

Aparicio, E. (2015, October). At a distance: Bolstering social work practice across the miles. Teaching Methods Workshop presented at the 61st Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education; Denver, CO.

West, A., Berlin, L., Jones Harden, B., & Aparicio, E. (2015, May). Real-world sustainability of Early Head Start + parenting: Home visitors’ strengths, needs, and perceptions. Paper symposium presented at the 2015 Society for Prevention Research 23rd Annual Meeting; Washington, DC.

Berlin, L., Appleyard, K., Aparicio, E., & Dodge, K. (2013, April). Predicting and preventing early maltreatment: Leveraging mothers’ own parenting histories and early parenting behaviors. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Conference; Seattle, Washington.

Vanidestine, T., Aparicio, E., & O’Reilly, N. (2012, November). Social work education and infusing racial justice content: Qualitative research curriculum development. Teaching Methods and Learning Styles Workshop presented at the 58th Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education; Washington, DC.

Michalopoulos, L. M. & Aparicio, E. (2012, November). A psychometric study of the vicarious trauma scale in a sample of social workers. Poster presented at the 58th Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education; Washington, DC.

Michalopoulos, L. M., & Aparicio, E. (2011, September). Vicarious trauma in social workers: The role of trauma history, social support, and years of experience. Paper presented at the 16th Annual Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma; San Diego, CA.

Aparicio, E., Gibbons, M. A., & Pecukonis, E. (2010, October). Creating tomorrow’s leaders: An innovative mentoring program for MSW and PhD students. Teaching Methods and Learning Styles Workshop presented at the 56th Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education; Portland, OR.

Bellin, M. H., Aparicio, E., & Neely-Barnes, S. (2010, October). Social work education in developmental disabilities: Curriculum development and infusion. Curriculum and Administrative Workshop at the 56th Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education; Portland, OR.

Aparicio, E., Michalopoulos, L. M., Shaikh, N., & Vanidestine, T. (2010, May). Conceptualizing vicarious trauma:  Support, supervision, perceived racism, and trauma history. Poster presentation at the Johns Hopkins University Conference for the Dissemination of Student Research; Baltimore, MD.

We are always looking for team members both on campus and in our community. Please email Dr. Aparicio at aparicio@umd.edu to inquire about current volunteer positions.

Follow us on Twitter: @commTHRIVESlab