Resilience Research: Six Teams in Action
Stress comes in many forms, from structural racism and historical trauma to adverse childhood experiences and repeated exposure to environmental toxins. Stressors of all kinds can take a toll, leading to chronic disease, emotional fatigue, and immune response deficiencies, among other negative health consequences.
Yet positive responses to stressors can enhance resilience: the capacity to adapt successfully. For individuals and communities alike, being resilient means being able to prepare for, withstand, and recover from adversity, trauma, and threats. Resilience—a complex and dynamic process influenced by many factors—provides stability both in the face of acute challenges and over the long term, making it a vital resource for all people and communities.
Despite growth in the science and practice of fostering resilience, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders recognized a significant need for more community-engaged action research. In 2017, we made “community and individual resilience and health” a priority theme for our second cohort. Six teams are currently focused on related research.
A Comparison of Resilience, Collective Efficacy, and Health in Two Historically African-American Neighborhoods in Houston, Texas: Felicia Jackson, MA, Quianta Moore, JD, MD, and Rachel Kimbro, MA, PhD, are exploring the differences between two neighborhoods with relatively high levels of poverty, to discover what factors enable one to thrive, and how similar levels of resilience can be built in the other.
Building a Stronger Community: Resilience Among LGBTQ+ People in South Texas: To understand the experiences of, and help support, LGBTQ+ people, Phillip W. Schnarrs, PhD, Amy L. Stone, PhD, and Robert L. Salcido Jr., are examining what factors contribute to health issues in this community and how community members cope with racial/ethnic- and sexuality-related discrimination.
Building Social Environments that Promote Resilience Among Youth Exposed to Violence: In Kansas City, Missouri, Jannette Berkley-Patton, PhD, Paige O’Connor, and Briana Woods-Jaeger, PhD, are investigating the key characteristics of people and places that promote resilience for urban, minority youth, to develop a model for assisting community-based organizations that serve them.
Identifying and Promoting Traditions of Strength and Healing on the Fond du Lac Reservation: In the Great Lakes region, an American Indian team—Nikki Crowe, BSW, Joseph P. Gone, PhD, and Melissa Walls, MA, PhD—is identifying untapped sources of cultural strength and ways to promote healing and reduce rates of suicide and drug overdose.
Resilience and Food Security in Black Belt Alabama Through Land-Based Cooperative Economics and Communal Landholdings: Tracy McCurty, JD, Marcus Bernard, MS, PhD, and Veronica Womack, MPA, PhD, are tapping traditional African-American knowledge and a history of cooperative models to reverse economic isolation and land loss and to reinvest in health, community resilience, and a thriving local sustainable food economy.
Resilience and Health in Immigrant Communities: An Examination of a Community Health Action Approach in Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County, Maryland: Thespina Yamanis, MPH, PhD, Taryn Morrissey, PhD, and Catalina Sol, MPH, are examining how health center activities contribute to resilience and health outcomes for the Latino and broader community and how these outcomes differ across two policy environments.
Each team’s research—focused on understanding and addressing a community’s pressing needs—is a vital part of Interdisciplinary Research Leaders’ nationwide effort to bring researchers and community leaders together to collaborate, develop key skills, and build healthier, more equitable communities now and for generations to come.