- Dionne Smith Coker-Appiah, PhD, MAED
- Heidi Bonner, PhD
- Mysha Wynn, MA
Research Project Description
The prevalence of mental illness in the African American community, and the lack of access to appropriate treatment is alarming. Statistics regarding mental illness and treatment among African American adolescents residing in rural communities, as well as those who enter the juvenile justice system, provide insight into the manner in which mental health disparities develop and persist among this population. The Eastern North Carolina team will engage in a comprehensive exploration of adolescent mental health within rural African American communities, and address social and economic determinants of health, by exploring and better understanding the intergenerational transmission of mental health knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs.
The proposed 3-part qualitative study will use a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to: (1) conduct an intergenerational exploration of mental health knowledge, perceptions and beliefs among rural African American adolescents and caregivers residing in rural communities in Eastern North Carolina; (2) conduct an exploration of education and training received by juvenile justice officials who interact with adolescent offenders who are experiencing mental disorders; and (3) develop and disseminate innovative and culturally/geographically appropriate outreach products designed for community-based dissemination. The proposed study can facilitate change by partnering with rural communities in an effort to address mental health issues by increasing knowledge, challenging stigmas, and overcoming barriers to help-seeking. This study can also equip decision makers with knowledge that can inform: (a) discussions about mental health; (b) a healthy transmission of intergenerational messages; (c) the design and delivery of mental health training; and (d) help-seeking behaviors.
Dionne Smith Coker-Appiah, PhD, MAED
Dionne Coker-Appiah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center. Dr. Coker-Appiah has engaged in a focused program of research that has enabled her to build a comprehensive, domestic and international, Adolescent Dating Violence (ADV) Prevention research program, utilizing a community-based participatory research approach. She focuses specifically on mental health implications. Her most recent research has focused on building community partnerships to prevent ADV in rural North Carolina (Project LOVE) and Ghana, West Africa. Dr. Coker-Appiah has dedicated her career to engaging in innovative research designed to prevent ADV in rural communities of Color, and is passionate about using her research and prevention efforts to ensure that all adolescents live healthy, violence-free lives.
Heidi Bonner, PhD
Heidi Bonner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at East Carolina University, and a research fellow at the John F. Institute for Public Safety. Her research focuses on individual and organizational criminal justice decision-making behavior and outcomes, with an emphasis on law enforcement operations.
Mysha Wynn, MA
Mysha Wynn is the founder and ED of Project Momentum, Inc. a CBO located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and East Carolina University. Mysha uses her 14 years of expertise in CBPR to leverage assets for communities through research.