Confluence Research Showcase

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Confluence Research Showcase

SPRING 2024 Here and Next

Universities do not exist in a vacuum, but rather in unique and complex historical, cultural and geographic contexts. By building sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with our community, through our research, we can contribute significantly to the health and well-being of the St. Louis region, together. Our community-engaged researchers work with and benefit from the strengths and input of our community, and we know that real, lasting impact is only possible because of our partners.

Community Partners

Carmen Stayton

• Allie Farrell (SSDL, now Children’s Funding Project)

• St. Louis County Court

• Knight ADRC

• Tina Pihl (Former St. Louis Alderwoman for the 17th Ward)

• The SoulFisher Ministries

• Bryan Bedwell (Kings Highway Vigilante Transition, St. Louis)

• The Common Reader

• Nick Hoffman (Missouri Historical Society)

• North Central Special Business District

• Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym

• Your Philanthropy LLC

• Andrew Weiss (San Diego State)

• Mehlville School District

• Emerson Park Development Corporation

• Melanie Houston (Drexel University)

• Core 3 Fitness Studio

• The Pediatric Endocrine Society

• Missouri Institute for Mental Health at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

• Center of Creative Arts (COCA)

• Union Memorial United Methodist Church

• Michael A Mancini PhD (SLU)

• Arbolope Studio

• Chelsey Butchereit

• The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis

• Khalia Collier (St. Louis Surge Professional Women’s Basketball)

• US Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District

• Launch Code

• Lynette Widder

• Xerces Society

• Cissy Lacks

• Greater Health Pharmacy and Wellness

• District Six Museum, Cape Town

• St. Louis Area Food Bank

• St. Louis Development Corporation

• St. Louis Public Schools

• Heritage House

• Webster Groves Recreation Complex

• Missouri Disability Empowerment Foundation

• Kemper Art Museum

• Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District

• Community Building Network (CBN)

• National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities)

• The Equal Housing Opportunity Commission of St. Louis

• City of St. Louis Economic Development Agency’s Green City Coalition

• Metro-Bi State

• Kristin Fleischmann Brewer

• St. Louis Public Library

• St. Louis City Department of Public Health

• Bi-State Development Research Institute

• Ritenour School District

• Cliff Froehlich (Cinema St. Louis)

• Jamala Rogers

• Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

• Division of Community and Public Health

• ACLU of Missouri

• Archeon Medical

• St. Louis Mosaic Project

• Turn the Page STL

• Third Degree Glass Factory

• Transform


• Erise Williams (CEO Williams and Associates)

• Pulitzer Arts Foundation

• Phi Global Farm

• Angela Dietz (Missouri History Museum)

• The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital

• Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis

• Brodwyn Fischer (University of Chicago)

• Confluence Academies

• St. Louis Zoo

• East St. Louis Public Library

• True Light Missionary Baptist Church

• Teach for America

• St. Louis (MO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

• Trailnet

• Revitalization of Baden Association

• Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation

• Department of Health and Human Services

• US Department of Housing and Urban Development

• Rosie Willis (Fresh Starts Community Garden)

• Dread Scott (Artist)

• The Missouri Foundation for Health

• Institute for Public Health

• Deaconess Foundation

• The Clyde Jordan Senior Center

• Haroon Safi

• Ameren Missouri

• Alpha Terrace

• Lorenzo Lones

• Saras Chung (SKIP DesignED)

• University of Missouri Center for Health Policy

• Be Well Café

• Integrated Health Network

• The Sophia Project

• Brian Woodman (Indiana University)

• Fit and Food Connection

• St. Louis STI Regional Response (STIRR)

• St. Patrick Center

• Orthwein Foundation

• James McAnally (Artist)

• St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO) • Jaclyn F. Belt (Beyond Housing)

• Michael Allen • Nemanick Leadership Consulting

• Action St. Louis • Matthew Lassiter (University of Michigan)

• Kelly Harris (Forest Park Advisory Board) • Gateway 180 • Deli DivINe • Jubilee Community Church • The Hon. Mary Bono (Former US Representative) • Hopewell Baptist Church • Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper • Ten by Three • Mount Beulah Senior Living • Patricia Murray • Strategic Community Partners • Missouri Foundation for Health


Affinia Healthcare

A Red Circle

• Antwoinette Ayers

• Skate City Belleville

• Gerry Connolly

• Useful Community Development

• Cynthia Chapple

• Ville Collaborative

• Contemporary Art Museum St Louis

• St. Louis Research-Practice Collaborative

• Deborah Ahmed

• Big Muddy Adventures

• The Living Beyond Breast Cancer Foundation

• Eric Gottesman (Artist)

• George Lipsitz (UC Santa Barbara)

• Sullivan Place

• Metropolitan Sewer District

• St. Louis Artists Guild

• PHL Inc.,

• Menke Consulting

• St. Louis City Department of Health

• Cahokia City Government

• Sarah Paulsen

• Paulette Sankofa (PEACE Weaving Wholeness) • Prop NS

University Health

LifeWise StL


Hyde Park

Southern Illinois University • St. Louis Fashion Fund • Jariyah McCalister

ASACKS Empowerment Group • Healing & Meditation Garden • Northside Community Center • Tavonda Palmer (Ritenour School District) • St. Louis Community Development Corporation • Chris Gordon (Missouri History Museum)

• James Loewen • Healing Action (HA)

• STEMSTL • Nicole Miller-Struttmann (Webster University)

• University City Children’s Center

• Northside
• St.
• Abra-Kid-Abra • Springer
• Fairground
• Duane
• Generate
• Great
STL City/Indigenous STL
• University
• Andrea Sparkling • St. Louis
• Da Hood Talks Podcast Food and Fit Connection • BlackArc • St. Louis County
• City of Wellston • Missouri Historical Society Library & Research Center • AARP • St. Louis Metropolitan Equal Housing & Opportunity (EHOC) • Cheron Phillips • MoCaFi • iFM Community Medicine • BJC HealthCare • St. Louis Arc • Bridge 2 Hope • St. Clair County Historical Society • Estella Hunter • Health Kids Express at St. Louis Children’s Hospital • Chris Carl (New American Gardening) • KIPP •
Community Housing, Inc.
Metro Market
Louis Sports Commission
Neighborhood Association
Revitalization 2000 (Claver House)
Rivers Greenway
Working Group
City Parks Commission
Department of Health

The William H. Danforth St. Louis Confluence Award elevates community-engaged research methods and recognizes the researchers and community partners who work together to address the challenges of our region. By collaborating from their projects’ initial designs to their final implementation, these community-minded leaders and their exceptional partners show tireless dedication to the well-being of our neighbors.

Top 10 Finalists

Ellis Ballard

Rowhea Elmesky

Kelly M. Harris

Patty Heyda

Elizabeth Hubertz and Tara Rocque

Jack Kirkland

Trish Kohl

Shannon Lenze

Bruce Lindsey

Susy Stark

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Advancing Methods of Community-Based System Dynamics in Applied Practice:

A Practice Research Initiative to Build Systems Change Methods and Capabilities in the St. Louis Region

With this new region-wide focus on addressing structural health and social challenges has emerged a need for new methods and tools to explicitly examine, prioritize and mobilize systems change. We present an ongoing initiative to innovate systems change tools and build human capacity to support that change in the St. Louis region through community-based research and learning collaborations. Since 2016 we have worked with 43 different organizations on 51 community projects, with examples of these collaborations being leveraged to seed large-scale systems change initiatives as well as connecting Brown School alums to leadership positions in the region.

Supporting Youth with Asthma in Schools: A Research-School Partnership to Improve Health Equity

Co-generating a Culture of Trust, Respect and Shared Responsibility

This WashU-school district partnership has been dedicated to ensuring that humanization, as a fundamental right, is a foundational part of the schooling experiences of Black children. By understanding the policies and interactional practices that were adversely impacting students, the research collaboration helped to transform the high school. Suspensions were reduced by more than 40% as restorative justice (RJ) practices were embraced. A RJ coordinator was hired, 100% of staff were trained in RJ, and a RJ elective course was developed. Importantly, the district adopted a resolution to create a “shift in school culture through an inclusive humanizing approach to discipline.”

Asthma, the most prevalent chronic childhood disease, places an increased burden on Black youth in our region. Evidencebased interventions to address asthma have lower rates of implementation due to social and economic contextual barriers. Our established partnership with a local school district, and three health services organizations conducted a needs assessment to better understand determinants of school-based asthma management. We found that poor care coordination and guideline adherence limit asthma management at school and impact both health and academic outcomes. Together, we are now working to develop and implement interventions to improve care coordination and outcomes for youth with asthma.

Radical Atlas maps the politics of inequality in American first-ring suburbs, through the lens of Ferguson and North St. Louis County, Missouri. The project culminates over a decade of redevelopment research in our region, to understand how and why inequality still manifests in the built environment. Over 100 maps spatialize the mundane yet structural violence of current systems that provoke racial segregation, fragmentation, poverty, exploitation and environmental destruction in the aging suburb. These systems do not improve life for residents, but exacerbate the erosion of their rights — and erosions of design’s possibilities. The atlas also highlights creative, productive policy alternatives.

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Environmental Equity in St. Louis

The Clinic, working with community partners, is continuing its four-stage project to address environmental racism in St. Louis. St. Louis’s history of racism and segregation resulted in severe environmental disparities, reflected in asthma rates, lead exposure, air pollution, mold exposure, energy burdens, food deserts, vacancy and dumping. In Stage 1, we prepared a report analyzing and quantifying these disparities. In Stage 2, we prepared recommendations to reduce the disparities. In Stages 3 and 4, we determine which recommendations the community prioritizes — using in-person presentations, online outreach and statistical surveys — and prepare detailed road maps to implement the chosen recommendations.

Confronting Disinvestment in Metro St. Louis

Community Research and Engagement with (metro) St. Louis (CREST) is a collaboration that seeks solutions to challenges confronting disinvestment in the region. In collaboration with the city government in Cahokia Heights, Illinois, we will engage community residents in their own economic uplift out of poverty through a combined effort uniquely focused on community engagement and research. CREST will bring together community residents, policymakers and the school through an academic community partnership to provide data-driven support for strategic planning efforts, assess community needs, and implement region-specific solutions. Cahokia Heights residents will engage in a mutually beneficial community-based research network.

Parents and Children Together – St. Louis:


Inequities and Preventing Child

Maltreatment through a Multifaceted, Multilevel Community Intervention

Parents and Children Together-St. Louis (PACT-STL) is a community-university partnership that centers voices of caregivers with lived experience in the transformation of regional services across multiple sectors (public child welfare, health, public health, mental health and social services). PACT-STL aims to reduce entry into the public child welfare system, and enhance the overall well-being of children and families in predominantly African American communities. The PACT-STL evaluation engages caregivers and child/family service providers as co-researchers involved in all aspects of the evaluation, from selection of evidence-based interventions to providing consultation on research questions, data collection, interpretation of findings and dissemination activities.

Trish Kohl


of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Elevating Voices, Addressing Depression, Toxic Stress and Equity in Group Care (EleVATE GC): A New Model for Prenatal Care

In St. Louis, Black women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women. Group prenatal care has been shown to reduce disparities in outcomes. Our collaborative, including former patients turned community collaborators, tailored a group prenatal care intervention to meet the specific needs of Black pregnant patients: Elevating Voices, Addressing Depression, Toxic Stress, and Equity in Group Care (EleVATE GC). A large randomized trial is underway to test both implementation and effectiveness of EleVATE GC in reducing pre-term birth and perinatal depression. If effective, data collected can be used to widely implement the program into practice.

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Divided City, an Urban Humanities Initiative

The Divided City, a partnership between the Center for Humanities and the College and Graduate School of Architecture, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, has supported and fostered community members, organizations, faculty and students in research and outreach framed by the oppression of segregation. For nearly 10 years, building on decades-long work by faculty across the university, the Divided City has brought the humanities together with architecture, urban design and landscape architecture through interdisciplinary courses, research, scholarship, projects, grants, public events and partnerships. This work has involved many but especially Jean Allman, Tila Neguse, Laura Perry, and Matt Bernstine.

Home Hazard Removal Program

The Home Hazard Removal Program (HARP), an evidence-based intervention, was created in collaboration with the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging to reduce falls, which are the primary cause of injury, injury-related deaths and premature institutionalization in older adults. Through extensive community-based research, HARP has undergone rigorous development and testing. It has successfully reduced fall rates by approximately 40% over a year and demonstrated a remarkable 111% return on investment. Significantly, HARP has evolved into a nationally recognized program, gaining approval for implementation across the national long-term supportive services network by the National Center on Aging.

2024 Confluence Award Applicants

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Susy Stark School of Medicine Bruce Lindsey Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

A Personalized Approach to Promote Health Equity by Overcoming Racial Disparities in Screening Mammography

This project aims to test if a patient-centric navigation program can improve no-show rates and screening mammography use in Black women in the St. Louis regional area. Eligible women will be assigned to one of two groups: usual care plus the personalized intervention, and usual care alone. Collaboration with St. Louisbased community members, including Black women, Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and the St. Louis Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities Breast Cancer Community Partnership group, is expected to help improve breast cancer screening in Black women.

Foluso Ademuyiwa School of Medicine

The Sumner StudioLab Seminars

The Sumner StudioLab Seminars consist of interdisciplinary Washington University in St. Louis courses based at the historic Sumner High School in The Ville neighborhood of St. Louis, in which students work on real-world problems around historic preservation, urban design and political organizing in North St. Louis.

Michael Allen

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Pediatric Emergency Medicine; Adolescent Reproductive Health; Clinical Informatics; Implementation Science

One in five people in the United States have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), with new infections totaling $16 billion in direct medical costs each year. Left untreated, infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cause significant morbidity and mortality. St. Louis has among the highest incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea nationally, and adolescent ages bear a disproportionate burden of STIs both locally and nationally. We implemented a system of risk-based STI screening in a pediatric emergency department and primary care clinics to identify adolescents in need of STI testing they otherwise are unlikely to receive.

Fahd Ahmad School of Medicine

Operation Food Search (OFS)

A study by the Arbeláez Lab and St. Louis-based organization Operation Food Search aims to increase food access and specialized support services for families of children with type 1 diabetes and food insecurity. T1D is a prevalent childhood chronic illness, with rising rates of new cases in the past two decades.

Ana Maria Arbeláez School of Medicine

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Aging Research Characterizing Health Equity via Social Determinants (ARCHES)

Our long-term goal is to establish a community advisory board, collaborate with community partners to recruit and retain a cohort of 300 Black participants, and examine mechanisms that increase the risk of preclinical and symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Despite the growing older adult population and epidemiological studies suggesting that the Black population is at twice the risk of developing AD compared to the white population, the Black population is severely underrepresented in research. This study aims to create a representative sample of Black participants and examine how risk factors of AD such as depression, stress and social determinants of health impact cognitive functioning and preclinical AD.

The Marfan Syndrome and Aortopathy Center at Washington University:

Collaborative Research Making an Impact Locally, Nationally, and Internationally

Marfan syndrome and related conditions lead to aortic aneurysms and risk of aortic dissection. The Marfan Syndrome and Aortopathy Center at Washington University School of Medicine is dedicated to the multidisciplinary evaluation and management of individuals and families with rare heritable thoracic aortic conditions. We partner with national and international research consortia to provide education and awareness for those living with these conditions. Our research has identified important gaps in care for the diverse population in our community, and we are partnering with institutions around the country to better understand differences in the presentation of Marfan syndrome to improve health equity.

Increasing Health Equity through Community and Patient Engagement in Research

The global crisis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) is related directly to an increase in social determinants of health (SDOH). The primary focus of my program is to address SDOH using a community and patient-engaged research framework. In partnership with the lab’s community advisory board, we created the COEQUAL Registry. This yearlong study involves registrants (n=573) completing questionnaires on SDOH and cognitive health, plus partnering with the community to provide education on ADRD research. Overall, the creation of COEQUAL helped establish a sustainable research registry to increase diversity, equity and inclusivity in ADRD research.

Joyce Balls-Berry School of Medicine

Peace Park: Vacancy to Vibrancy

Peace Park is a community-led initiative to create green recreational space in the College Hill neighborhood of North St. Louis. The 2015 For the Sake of All report found that life expectancy for College Hill residents, a predominately Black neighborhood, is remarkably lower than primarily white areas. Through a series of engagements, Health Equity Works worked with residents to develop actionable means to address these inequalities. The result is Peace Park; built in the vacant city-wide block beneath the Grand Boulevard Water Tower, because of its visual prominence in the neighborhood and connection to the late civil rights activist Otis Woodward.

Wyly Brown

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

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Saint Louis Schools Research-Practice Collaborative

Educational research conducted through the long-term collaboration between practitioners and academic researchers is more useful and impactful in creating equitable outcomes for children and teachers in PK-12 education. The Saint Louis Schools Research-Practice Collaborative (SRPC) conducts rigorous research in partnership with educational practitioners to inform policies and practices that foster systemic improvements and lead to educational, social and emotional growth for students in Saint Louis schools. The SRPC’s first major research project focuses on student mobility as a critical regional challenge that transcends schools and districts with the goal of identifying potential interventions to ameliorate its negative effects.

Andrew Butler Arts & Sciences

Whereas Hoops: Scholarship, Creative Practice and Activism for Basketball in Forest Park

“Whereas Hoops” is an interdisciplinary collaboration between sports studies scholar Noah Cohan and visual artist John Early that addresses the spatial inequity of basketball’s long absence from Forest Park. Launched in March 2021, the project combines public scholarship, spatial interventions, community engagement, graphic design and an artist’s book to highlight the absence of basketball courts in the park, make visible the long-standing prejudices that underlie and contribute to their absence, and advocate publicly for the inclusion of basketball in the park. In part through these efforts, the first-ever basketball facilities in Forest Park will open in 2024.

Noah Cohan

Early Arts & Sciences

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

uMAT-R: A Digital Solution Supporting Recovery Journeys in Missouri

Missouri is in the throes of a public health emergency marked by a crisis in opioid overdose deaths. As a result, Dr. Cavazos and her team developed uMAT-R, a digital intervention that is currently playing a central role in OUD treatment across Missouri. Supported by the Missouri State Opioid Response program through the Missouri Department of Mental Health, uMAT-R has expanded the array of cost-free recovery support options available to providers and their clients. Close to 1,000 community members have engaged with the uMAT-R, and it plays a pivotal role in educating and motivating clients toward harm reduction and recovery.

Encounters Along the American Bottom

This project concentrates in the region known as the American Bottom, where the contemporary landscape hides residues of settler colonialism, racial inequities and environmental precarity. This 175 square miles of lowland along the Mississippi River sits on the Illinois side, across from St. Louis. The American Bottom landscape contains industrial infrastructure, material extraction, farming, Native American mound sites and waste-disposal facilities. Working with photography, I strive to make visible the invisible, giving voice to what is overlooked, discarded or systemically dismissed. How does a landscape hold memory of past events, and how can a photograph both depict and challenge embedded narratives?

Jennifer Colten

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

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Patricia Cavazos School of Medicine John

The Potential of Community Benefits Agreement to Disrupt Residential Segregation

St. Louis community-based organizations are advocating for community benefits agreements (CBAs) to undo the inequality they experience from prolonged neighborhood disinvestment. CBAs are contracts between a developer and community leaders and a promising solution. However, no research has examined the impact of CBAs on neighborhood socioeconomic status or health. Thus, this mixed-methods project will evaluate CBAs nationally to support data-informed advocacy and inform best practices. Community members have been involved from the inception of the project helping identify outcomes, drafting interview questions, and as members of the research team. Results will be used to draft CBAs locally.

Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PEDaD) at Siteman Cancer Center (SCC)

To address breast cancer disparities in St. Louis, Dr. Drake partnered with People’s Health Centers on a funded study to implement a mammography and breast navigation program in a high-risk population. This resulted in over 95% of navigated women receiving a mammogram. In addition, diverse participation in research is critical to fully address disparities. I co-designed and conducted a NCI-funded, mixed-methods study to identify barriers and strategies for participation with prostate cancer community partners. The identified strategies increased AfricanAmerican enrollment in a prostate cancer cohort from 7% to currently over 20%. Sustained engagement is imperative for longterm impact in equity.

Bettina Drake

of Medicine

STNDRD: From Vacancy and Divestment to Vibrant Art Exhibitions

STNDRD (pronounced standard) addresses the perception of blight and divestment in our regional landscapes by integrating art into two sites: a vacant lot in downtown Granite City, Illinois, and industrial casting bunkers within the campus of the National Building Arts Center (NBAC) in Sauget, Illinois. Beyond simply activating dormant spaces, we address the genuine need for innovative, experimental art experiences within our community while offering vital support to professional artists. These investments in land, space and community not only serve as an impactful remedy for neglect but also foster a rich cultural environment across the St. Louis Metro area.

Sage Dawson

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Segregation by Design (SBD)

Since 2015, Professor Catalina Freixas has partnered with Mark Abbott, Professor Emeritus of Harris Stowe State University, to engage a diverse range of community partners in the classroom and across multiple grants to examine the causes and consequences of residential segregation in metropolitan St. Louis. Their work, Segregation by Design, blends architecture, urban design, history, humanities and other disciplines to develop a community-based, transdisciplinary approach to segregation that leads to potential policy and design mitigation strategies. The work has engaged more than 40 partners and has been supported by almost 30 grants.

Catalina Freixas

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

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Our Community Our Health

This project, co-led by Angela Brown and Elvin Geng, seeks to embed vaccine services within the community to ensure that preventive services are embedded within familiar and comfortable locations, times and people. To do so, we link with community organizations, work with community health workers, and place ourselves where community engagement and traffic (at churches and during food drives). Ultimately, the OCOH seeks to exemplify “meeting people halfway” to ensure that health care feels like care.

Elvin Geng

Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture

“Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture” challenges architects and allied design disciplines to collaborate outside their disciplinary definitions in order to confront largescale challenges, such as climate change, and to promote future trans-boundary sustainable futures across multiple scales of watersheds. Given St. Louis’s powerful centrality within the overall Mississippi Watershed, this long-term project collaborates with local and regional partners to advocate for reconnecting communities back to our great river region shared by all of us.

Derek Hoeferlin

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Care Beyond the Clinic: Ensuring the Success of Children with Disabilities

Coupling the unique community resources in the St. Louis area with the expertise in the Washington University NF Center, one of the world’s most comprehensive centers focused on research and clinical care of families with NF, we sought to establish innovative out-of-hospital programming to address these unmet needs. Over the past decade, in partnership with a wide variety of St. Louis institutions, we have developed a large suite of novel communitybased therapy programs to provide a more holistic approach to healthcare across the lifespan.

David Gutmann

Building a More Equitable STEM Pipeline in St. Louis through Community Partnerships: A Multipronged Approach to a Wicked Problem

My approach to building an equitable STEM pipeline in St. Louis is grounded in the belief that those closest to inequity are best equipped to break down the obstacles in their way. Early in the pipeline, I partner with districts to improve middle school math and science performance for marginalized students. By patching up leaks early in the STEM pipeline, we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to pursue advanced math and science in high school. Later in the pipeline, I partner with alternative education (e.g., LaunchCode) programs to create new STEM opportunities and workforce connections for adults.

Jason Jabbari


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Implementing Multilevel Colon Cancer Screening Interventions to Reduce Rural Cancer Disparities

Many rural areas around the region face higher rates of cancer mortality and are health professional shortage areas. Screening can identify cancers at earlier stages, giving people the opportunity for better outcomes. Our work in this and other projects is to collaborate with local healthcare providers to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to promote cancer screening, early detection and timely follow-up. We have built long-standing partnerships with healthcare providers to ensure that approaches are co-created and are acceptable and feasible for community providers, patients and settings. This includes substantial formative research to understand the settings and build trust.

A Constructive Past in Turbulent Times: Building Community Engagement for the Humanities

My current research involves three interrelated projects: 1) How the Founders Governed: Danger and Decision in the American Founding; 2) Creating a Federal Government; 3) and Remapping the Founding. These projects seek nothing less than to transform how people quite literally “see” the United States during its first half century. They also move St. Louis to the center of our national narrative. In the process, these projects involve close engagement with community partners and public audiences to develop new ways for St. Louis to come to terms with its history.

Homegrown StL

HomeGrown StL, launched in 2015, focuses on addressing health and economic inequality in St. Louis by focusing on young Black males. The university-based initiative has a faculty of goodwill with expertise to sustain commitment to Black male economic mobility. The organization aims to demonstrate how to use community science to target and change contextual and individual-level drivers of economic inequity by advancing Black male social mobility. HomeGrown StL’s principals are invested in transforming social mobility systems, institutions of care, learning and skills building, and employment that upholds inequity.

“Measuring Emotional Resilience”: Development and Validation of the Afrocentric Emotional Coping Inventory

with Young Black Men

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a concerning increase in substance overdose deaths among Black individuals aged 15-24. Cultural strengths have emerged as a promising aspect that could influence positive behavioral health choices among ethnic minority youth. Upon successful completion of the study, we will investigate the longitudinal relationship between Afrocentric emotional coping and substance use behaviors among young black males in the St. Louis Region while also piloting both in-person and mobile prevention strategies.

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Aimee James Institute for Public Health Peter Kastor Arts & Sciences Sean Joe Brown School Husain Lateef Brown School

Student Impact in St. Louis Small Business Community

SBI provides undergraduate students the opportunity to work with and help small businesses in St. Louis solve strategic problems through a semester-long course with the support of Olin faculty and CEL scholars.

Advancing Resident-led Approaches to Reduce the Intertwined Crises of Overdose and Violence in North St. Louis

The problem of overdose continues to disproportionately impact young Black men in North St. Louis and is increasing the fastest compared to the rest of Missouri. This project will examine residents’ perspectives on strategies to respond to overdose and violence that builds the capacity of local residents to affect change within their local communities. The Neighborhood Ambassadors Program is a resident-led intervention that combines social, support, job training and community solidarity with access to mental health, substance use and social services in St. Louis.

The Black Genome Project: A Community-based Ethnography toward More Equitable Precision Medicine

The Black Genome Project is taking a human-centered approach to developing more equitable genomics research and precision medicine programs. Through ethnography, community-based participatory research and genomics education, we seek to understand how genomics research is impacting Black communities in St. Louis and how these communities value their genomes and genomics data. The project aims to provide Black communities with the education and resources to understand genomics and to empower people to use genomic advancement to improve their own health outcomes and attain agency.

Legacy of Neglect: Linking Flood Hazards, Pathogen Exposure and Health Inequities in Cahokia Heights, Illinois

This is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project between Elizabeth Mallott (Biology), Theresa Gildner (Anthropology) and Claire Masteller (Earth and Planetary Sciences). Our research aim is to evaluate the links between persistent flood hazards, pathogen exposure and health inequities of Cahokia Heights residents. This project uses geospatial science and machine learning to monitor flooding and to develop predictive flood models. Data on flood frequency and severity are paired with soil and water samples to measure human pathogen exposure in the region. We are working to establish clear links between flooding and health outcomes.

Claire Masteller

Theresa Gildner

Elizabeth Mallott Arts & Sciences

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Phillip Marotta Brown School Brett Maricque School of Medicine

Spreading LOV: Implementation and Evaluation of Life Outside Violence, the St. Louis Region-wide Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program

Hospitals are the primary location where patients who have suffered a violent injury seek medical care. HVIPs engage patients shortly after hospital-based care for a violent injury to provide individualized assessments, psychosocial interventions and case-management services. Life Outside of Violence (LOV), the St. Louis region-wide HVIP, has been implemented into clinical practice as an evidencebased HVIP to break patients out of the cycle of violence. We are currently evaluating program implementation, enrollment and participant outcomes (e.g., violent reinjury). These data support ongoing LOV program implementation, and inform HVIP operations and evaluation at other centers across the United States.

Finding Home in the Gateway City: Fostering Refugee Integration in St. Louis

The Initiative on Social Work and Forced Migration (ISWFM) was established with the mission to lead and coordinate research, education and training in social work and social welfare, aiming to improve the quality of life for documented and under-documented forcibly displaced individuals. The dedicated team at ISWFM, rich in lived experiences as first- or second-generation immigrants and refugees, is currently conducting three research projects in St. Louis focused on mental health and the multidimensional integration of newly resettled Afghans, with three additional projects in the planning stages. The initiative collaborates closely with refugee and immigrant-serving organizations and community leaders in St. Louis to plan, design and implement projects as well as interpret results and distribute findings relevant to the projects.

Mitra Naseh Brown School

University City Public Art Series

The University City Public Art Series is a product of the partnership between University City and the Washington University in St. Louis’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art. Over the past 37 years, nearly 200 temporary public art pieces have been produced by Sam Fox School students and funded through the University City Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters. This series is the longest-running public art partnership between a university and a municipality in the United States.

Arny Nadler Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Community Partnerships to Deliver Care to the Unhoused: Street Medicine St. Louis

Street Med St. Louis is a collection of physicians and other health professionals who partner with community organizations to deliver medical care to unhoused people. Using a harm-reduction and person-centered approach, the group makes weekly rounds to provide direct medical care as well as advice, supplies and connections to the traditional healthcare system. The group has a three-part mission of service, advocacy and education. To improve services, there is ongoing research focused on better understanding the unique needs of the unhoused community of St. Louis, specifically using the voice of the community in the form of mixed-methods research.

Nathanial Nolan

Michael Durkin

Sara Malone School of Medicine

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Building Resilient and Inclusive Communities through Collective Action

The goal of BRIC (Building Resilient and Inclusive Communities) is to integrate social connectedness with strategies to promote nutrition security and safe physical activity access. Over the last three years, a local collaborative was created, formed mostly by organizations located and serving in North St. Louis neighborhoods, working to increase nutrition security, safe transportation and physical activity, and social connectedness. BRIC has developed a coalition on equitable nutrition security and food justice that includes food banks, food pantries, farmers markets, community gardens, senior centers, urban farms, mobile markets and communityowned grocery stores.


The Importance of Cost Transparency during Cancer Care

One of the biggest challenges of cancer treatment stems from its exorbitant costs and limited cost transparency. The cost burden on patients/families contributes to “financial toxicity” – the material, emotional and behavioral responses to financial hardship from healthcare costs. Financial toxicity impacts people in the St. Louis region across socioeconomic levels, from urban to rural settings. It exacerbates cancer disparities, particularly among people with lower incomes. This work aims to mitigate the effects of financial toxicity by creating (1) interactive cost estimators, (2) guides to connect patients/families to cost resources, and (3) tools to facilitate costs-of-care conversations during cancer decision-making.

St. Louis Policy Initiative

Our project brings diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives to the empirical study of policy in the St. Louis metro region. Our initiative aims to create a bridge across St. Louisfocused research projects, work with community partners, and conduct research on metro-region politics more generally. We have developed and continue to create a research infrastructure that will enable research and reduce the costs of studying the region with relevant geo-spatial quantitative data for community groups, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders. The effort consists of two initiatives: the St. Louis Data Dashboard and the St. Louis Survey.

Andrew Reeves

Matthew Gabel

Scott Krummenacher Arts & Sciences

St. Louis Sexual Health Data Platform

The St. Louis metro area is among the top 10 in the United States for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis STI rates, indicating that STIs are a serious problem in the area. In the area, congenital syphilis (CS) has resurfaced and grown by over 2000%; in 50% of instances, CS results in stillbirth or infant mortality. All Black populations — including Black women, Black males who have sex with men, and Black transgender people — have greater incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Dr. Reno’s research group has identified gaps and missed opportunities in the sexual healthcare system that fuel health disparities.

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Diana Parra Brown School Mary Politi School of Medicine
Hilary Reno School of Medicine

Evaluating the Impact of St. Louis’s First Guaranteed Basic Income Program

This pilot program, the first of its kind in St. Louis, offers an unconditional cash payment of $500 a month to 540 lowincome parents of children in St. Louis schools. Our study is evaluating the impact of this program using longitudinal surveys, credit data, payment usage data, administrative educational data and qualitative interviews. The outcomes we will investigate through this study will focus on recipients’ employment, savings and debt, well-being, physical and mental health, investment in their children, and experiences of material and medical hardships. This study is a partnership with the city of St. Louis and WashU researchers.

Libraries and Social Services Partnerships

Libraries and Social Service Partnerships aims to provide social service support to St. Louis City’s most vulnerable populations through a collaboration between the St. Louis Public Library and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work & Social Policy. Washington University social work graduate students will support various branches of the library, providing guidance to community members with various support needs. The partnership will benefit the complete range of ages, from infants and mothers to schoolage children, adults and the aging population.

Nonprofit Capacity Building at Delmar DivINe

The Center for Human Service Leadership’s mission is to enhance the organizational capacity and performance of the 30 nonprofit organizations housed at Delmar DivINe, in the renovated ConnectCare / St. Luke Hospital, which also houses 150 apartments and retail tenants.

St. Louis Mediation Project:

A Lifeline for Neighbors, Landlords, Tenants and Communities

No one benefits from an eviction — not the tenants, not the landlords, and certainly not the community. To promote housing stability and provide learning opportunities for students, Professor Karen Tokarz launched the St. Louis Mediation Project, in conjunction with her Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic. Law and social work students and volunteer mediators have helped resolve thousands of St. Louis City and County housing disputes over the past decade through free, confidential counseling and mediation services in the community and in the housing courts, helping to reduce evictions, stabilize communities, and lessen the burden on the courts.

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Karen Tokarz WashU Law

Air Pollution Disparities at Neighborhood and Finer Scales

We partner with St. Louis area organizations to conduct air monitoring in St. Louis neighborhoods with high Environmental Justice Index ranking. In partnership with Metropolitan Congregations United, we conducted fine particulate matter monitoring outdoors at 14 churches in the city of St. Louis and nearby North St. Louis County. Turner Group PhD students met with stakeholders at each location (church membership meetings, neighborhood town halls, ward meetings, etc.). In partnership with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, we are conducting ozone measurements in three St. Louis area neighborhoods, with a focus on Dutchtown, where concerns have been expressed about asthma.

Jay Turner

Tyler Cargill

Yan He

Zhiyao Li

McKelvey School of Engineering

‘Nip It in the Bud!’

Managing the Opioid Crisis: Supply Chain Response to Anomalous Buyer Behavior

In response to the U.S. opioid crisis, leaders have initiated various initiatives to address this epidemic. For example, in 2022, St. Louis declared an International Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness and garner federal support. To support these initiatives, scholars explored using advanced data science tools to detect suspicious opioid shipments at the source, a capability that does not exist, creating a blind spot in the opioid supply chain. The team successfully built a tool to help fight this epidemic and coupled it with a 53-page overview of the research, policy recommendations and context to facilitate using these tools.

Michael Wall Seethu Seetharaman Olin Business School

WashU & Slavery Project

The WashU & Slavery Project is uncovering and sharing ways our institution is entangled with the history and legacy of slavery, through contributions of faculty, students and staff, and in partnership with our university libraries, museum and several St. Louis institutions whose histories are entwined with our own. We have made substantial progress in foundational research, organizing university collections for accessible research and teaching, creating a digital project infrastructure, and facilitating campus and community engagements that support a more robust and sustained response to the legacy of slavery, which stands among St. Louis’s and the world’s most pressing problems.

Geoff Ward

Kelly Schmidt

Arts & Sciences

Advancing Health Equity

Through Community-Clinical Integration of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Health Care in Historically Excluded Communities in the St. Louis Region

REACH-STL, a collaborative effort with St. Louis Integrated Health Network, Washington University’s BRIC coalition, and Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness, dedicates itself to addressing health disparities in the federally designated St. Louis Promise Zone, home to some of St. Louis’s most segregated and underinvested communities. Focusing on nutrition, physical activity and family wellness programs, REACH-STL uses existing infrastructure to address health inequities, and systemically implement policies and interventions to address health disparities within these communities. Leveraging pre-established trusting relationships with community organizations allows us to gather essential feedback and build mutually beneficial partnerships, allowing for more effective program implementation and adoption.

Denise Wilfley

Diana Parra Perez

School of Medicine

Brown School

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The Development and Advancement of Technologies from Academia to the Public to Help Patients through Molecular Diagnostics and Precision Medicine

The Material World of Modern Segregation: St. Louis in the Long Era of Ferguson

Art Pollination: Growing Food and Environmental Justice through Creativity

Firearm Triage Screening and Gun Lock Distribution

Pediatric EMS Ventilation Trial (PREVENT)

A Banner Effort: Conducting a Network Analysis of Delmar DivINe Organizations to Foster Innovation and Collaboration in St. Louis

Safe Return to School in North St. Louis County

Remote Monitoring with Textile-Based Sensing Systems for Health and Well-Being and Sustainable Textile and Apparel Design

Four-week Summer Bioinformatics Research Internship

Josephine’s World

Raj Apte School of Medicine

Iver Bernstein

Heidi Aronson Kolk Arts & Sciences

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Juan William Chavez

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Lindsay Clukies School of Medicine

Joseph Finney School of Medicine

Michal Grinstein-Weiss Brown School

Jason Newland School of Medicine

Mary Ruppert-Stroescu

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

James Skeath School of Medicine

Denise Ward-Brown

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts


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