Palmer-Wackerly, colleagues earn funding for research project in Kenya

Photo Credit: Angela Palmer Wackerly
Thu, 02/02/2023 - 10:57

Angela Palmer-Wackerly, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, and her colleagues were awarded a grant from Elrha, a humanitarian organization based in the United Kingdom. Palmer-Wackerly, serving as co-investigator, and principal investigator and Husker colleague Julie Tippens will be in Kenya collaborating with researchers from other institutions for the project "Participatory Humanitarianism: Linking Mental Health Data to Action with Older Refugees and Refugees with Disabilities as Co-Researchers."

Tippens is part of the Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

About the project
"Despite a proliferation of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programming to address the social and emotional repercussions of disaster, conflict, and forced migration in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), older people and people with disabilities are underrepresented in MHPSS data collection and have limited access to and participation in wellness-promoting interventions in humanitarian settings. To address this critical gap, we propose to design and evaluate/test a methodologically flexible, interactive mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) research toolkit using a two-phase process guided by participatory action research (PAR). This toolkit, tentatively called 'HESHIMA: A Guide to Collaborative and Inclusive Health Research in Humanitarian Settings' will address research ethics, responsible data collection and storage to maintain confidentiality, developing and maintaining partnerships, multi-stakeholder communication, data collection procedures matched to example research questions or action priorities, dissemination strategies, and how to use evidence to foster action and promote community health. 'Heshima' is Kiswahili for 'respect' or 'dignity,' and we seek to promote these through our guide. Indeed, as an acronym, HESHIMA is our anchoring keystone for inclusion and equity: Honoring Experiences and Shared Humanity in Mobilizing for Action."