July 7, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Two community-focused projects have been recognized with the 2021 Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship and Scholar awards. Now in its sixth year, the award will support researchers as they continue their work to advance racial equity and reduce the instances of substance use disorders in high school students.

Dr. Tambra Jackson, Dean of the School of Education at IUPUI and Dr. Leslie Etienne, Clinical Associate Professor in the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, received the Charles R. Bantz Community Fellowship to support their work with the Indianapolis Freedom Schools Partnerships and their project: “A Summer of Service, A Lifetime of Commitment: Developing Freedom School Interns as Community-Engaged Scholars.”

The Bantz award will support hiring six service-learning interns who will participate in discussions and research activities with students, families and community stakeholders, making meaning of their experiences and improving communication about the program by telling its impact.

According to Dr. Leslie Etienne, “Our research has its foundations in the history of the Freedom Schools and Citizenship prevalent in the long story of the Black Freedom Movement or Civil Rights Movement. So, by design, we engage the traditions associated with racial and social justice with fidelity. Dr. Tambra Jackson and I are passionate about this research because of the lasting effects it can have in development of literacy as a means for instilling self-confidence and responsibility to the community in the young people our project serves.”

Dr. Victoria Garcia-Wilburn, Assistant Professor with the IUPUI School of Health & Human Sciences, and Dr. Devon J. Hensel, Associate Research Professor with the IU School of Medicine and Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at IUPUI, received the Charles R. Bantz Community Scholar award for their research on substance-use disorders. The project, “Understanding Cravings and Triggers in Adolescents Attending a Recovery High School in a COVID-19 Era,” is a partnership with Hope Academy Recovery High School (Hope Academy). The research will allow the researchers and Hope Academy to better understand adolescents’ daily lived experiences, improve client-centered care, and capture the real-life barriers in substance-use disorder.

“Dr. Devon Hensel and I, along with our community partner, will investigate how substance-use triggers and cravings impact adolescents in recovery from substance misuse throughout their daily lives. We hope this empowers Hope Academy’s teens to be active participants in their own care. We believe our research team’s findings can serve as a model for the over 30 recovery high schools in the United States. Research affirms when clients are active members in their own treatment they are more likely to be successful and compliant in their care”, stated Dr. Victoria Garcia-Wilburn.

“Our research approach is specifically designed to support a person-centered model, in which we meet participants where they are and better understand the barriers to recovery as they live them in everyday life,” stated Dr. Devon Hensel.

Charles R. Bantz, IUPUI Chancellor Emeritus and Executive Director of the IUPUI Center for Translating Research Into Practice, noted, “These outstanding faculty are championing two pressing research issues in our community; empowering communities through literacy and understanding adolescent barriers in substance use disorder to shape future leaders and impact policy.”

For additional information about the award and winners, please contact Teresa Bennett, Assistant Vice Chancellor of the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, at tkbennet@iu.edu.

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About The Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship and the Community Scholar awards
The annual awards, named after former IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, recognize research and provide funding for community-engaged scholars, supporting the translation of their work with community partners that positively impacts people’s lives. These awards are granted for one year to support a collaborative research team made up of faculty, staff, students, and community partners/members to address a pressing community issue in Central Indiana. These awards are made possible with the generous support of the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and donors.

For more information or to apply for the Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship or Scholar award, visit the Academic Affairs page here.