9th Annual Community Driven Research Day

CDRD is all about enabling and empowering connections between the community and the research world, with their complementary sets of expertise, and furthering a commitment to genuine community participation in research at every step of the process.

ARTZ Philadelphia was selected to present a poster in the 9th annual Community Driven Research Day this month! It was our organization’s first time participating in the event, held at the University of Pennsylvania this year. Imagine a high ceilinged hall filled with area non-profits, community groups, public sector partners and researchers, and lined by community presenters’ colorful posters.

CDRD provides a forum where community organizations and academic researchers with similar interests and research questions can meet each other on equal footing. The research day is all about enabling and empowering those connections between the community and the research world, with their complementary expertise, and furthering a commitment to genuine community participation in research at every step of the process, from determining the research question to the dissemination of the findings.

Two women discuss a booth at the research day

The event this year invited research questions from community-based organizations around the theme of “Health Equity: Addressing the social determinants of health”. Our poster focused on two: ARTZ Philadelphia is wrapping up the first year of an initiative grounded in understanding the specificity of living with dementia in two particular neighborhoods. We’re interested in learning how best to evaluate the effectiveness of the community-based program development approach we used in this first year. As for the second question, we continue to be interested in finding ways to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the impact of ARTZ Philadelphia programs on quality of life: quantitative evidence is needed for arts-based programs tailored to people’s talents and interests to be considered viable by the mainstream medical establishment.

It was partially the space between the research language of the questions presented on the poster and the reality of their implications that made the day feel so full of potential. There was so much to talk about! Programs, the questions, research methods, other questions that could come from those. I felt so much potential, too, in getting to meet the community-based organizations around the room who attended CDRD as participants and presenters. It’s inspiring to see so many facets of direct service to Philadelphians, from wrap-around services based out of a produce shop to a group committed to advocating for participants in research studies (like the ones being proposed all around the room). And to see the power in potential collaborations with those whose missions overlap.

I like the sound of the “Community driven” part of “CDRD.” It’s not hard to imagine the questions posed in the room leaving the room in the form of heightened curiosity from an academic partner. Just reading the questions brought forth by community organizations could drive research in directions more relevant to those organizations and the people who participate in their services.

Here’s where we’re going next…Even better than the work the questions do on their own: presenters at CDRD are eligible to submit proposals for $10,000 in funding to start out a research partnership. CDRD is the first step in a program designed to enable conversations that turn into lasting projects; ones that maintain a relationship between researchers and community members. We at ARTZ Philadelphia are looking forward to following up on connections made during the event with community groups and research institutions in Philadelphia to see how we might grow and learn from each other. We are committed to exploring the two research questions we’ve been considering as a team and have shared with the CDRD cohort.

A group photo of research day participants

To learn more about the annual event, you can visit CHOP’s Community Driven Research Day page here. Please stay tuned for more about how our growing relationships in community are helping to shape ARTZ Philadelphia because of OF/BY/FOR ALL