Project Kick-Off: Inspiring Change

On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, Patrick Corrigan, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, and his research team will welcome leaders from two community organizations to Illinois Institute of Technology to celebrate the initiation of two community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects. These projects, funded through Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a product of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, focus on improving health disparities for African Americans with serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The event will be held in Corrigan’s lab in 1C6-1 Tech South, 3242 S. State Street.

As part of the two-year grant, a 10-member advisory board of local mental health providers, African Americans with mental health challenges, and Illinois Tech research staff created a CBPR curriculum called Inspiring Change. The board created the Inspiring Change manual and workbook specifically to involve African Americans with mental illness as partners in research. The advisory board developed and facilitated two CBPR workshops in the Chicago area for potential research project leaders. Workshop attendees were encouraged to form CBPR teams and submit research proposals that could be implemented within local agencies.

Two teams were selected for research grants, Emmaus Ministries and Heartland Health Outreach, and will be awarded up to $21,000 in funding to complete their projects over the next nine months. The Emmaus team will explore the health care challenges faced by African American men with mental illness who are survival sex workers. The Heartland team will design a self-management program to empower African Americans with mental illness to mobilize towards wellness goals.

During the kick-off event, the two CBPR teams will present their proposed projects to the advisory board and discuss their vision of their CBPR projects. Corrigan and the advisory board will provide technical assistance for the teams for the duration of the projects and will gather feedback on implementation of the Inspiring Change curriculum.

More information about Inspiring Change is available here. Questions about the kick-off event can be directed to Lindsay Sheehan at or 312.567.7983.

This event reflects the values expressed in IIT’s Diversity Statement and is intended to promote diversity at Illinois Tech.