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Active and Recent Projects

DEMOCRACY & CIVIL SOCIETY 

The Maré Research Group is a multi-stakeholder, international research and artistic partnership led by Professors Desirée PoetsMax Stephenson, and Nicholas Barnes, as well as community organizer Henrique Gomes de Silva, and graduate students Andreza Jorge and Molly Todd. The team has been conducting ongoing research documenting the lives of residents of the Complexo da Maré in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, through library exhibits, roundtable discussions, and written works. 

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GOVERNANCE & MANAGEMENT

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

The C2C project is a novel multi-stakeholder intervention using referral, crisis response resources, case management capacities, and backpacks equipped with potentially life-saving tools to address goals of: 1) timely referral of persons experiencing or at-risk of overdose or other substance use health-related consequence; 2) reduction in overdose and relapse; and 3) connecting consumers to appropriate harm reduction, treatment and recovery programs. The C2C project applies a Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) framework integrated into the proposed connection, referral, case management and treatment strategies. The C2C project is led by PI Mary Beth Dunkenberger, and supported by Laura YorkLara Nagle, and Liz Allen

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The C2C project team, led by Mary Beth Dunkenberger, Associate Director, VTIPG, identified a need for more Housing First facilities and programming during a 2021 study of recovery housing needs in Roanoke. In order to better understand the Housing First model and to provide more information about Housing First to developers and operators of recovery housing, Mel Jones, Associate Director, Virginia Center for Housing Research and Lara Nagle, Research Scientist, VTIPG, developed a Housing First toolkit.

The toolkit includes information from interviews with existing Housing First programs run by Virginia Supportive Housing, REAL LIFE, and DESC, in addition to budgets, pro formas, and other resources these organizations use.

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Melony A. Price-Rhodes, PI, leads the Family Research Unit (FRU), a long-term contract that provides research, technical expertise and human capacity to Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services Child Protective Services (CPS), Foster Care and Adoptions (FC&A), and the Fairfax/Falls Church Children's Services Act (CSA) Programs. The FRU team, with a 23+ year history, is comprised of research faculty and staff, with vast expertise in revenue maximization for children and youth being served by the above mentioned programs.  

These funding streams include Title IV-E, Supplemental Security Income (Title XVI), Social Security (Title II) Benefits, Child Support (Title IV-D), and Medicaid (Title XIX).

The FRU continues to refine multiple processes so that fewer county tax dollars are spent to support children who are in foster care placement or in receipt of CSA funds and more will be reimbursed from the Federal Government and parent(s) of the children.  

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The Institute is working with RCAHD on a three-year process to improve the health department's community engagement strategies and data collection, and to make these strategies part of ongoing operations with the goal of continually assessing and refining service delivery. The ICEP project is led by PI Mary Beth Dunkenberger and supported by Co-PIs Lara Nagle, Liz Allen, Laura York, Bryce Hoflund, and graduate research assistants Quinn Richards and Amin Farzaneh

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The Studies To Advance Recovery Support (STARS) Network is a thematic, stakeholder-focused research network that aims to generate trainings, tools, and platforms targeted to the implementation and study of peer recovery support services for individuals treated with medications for opioid use disorder. The STARS Network provides a critical foundation for high-priority research on peer recovery support services to inform their expansion and advance recovery among individuals with opioid use disorder. STARS is led by Co-PI Robert Pack and Project Director Angela Hagaman of East Tennessee State University, along with Co-PI Kim Horn at VTIPG with VT project support from Mary Beth Dunkenberger and Lara Nagle.

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The Peer Empowered Addiction Recovery Living (PEARL) program of Piedmont Community Services (PCS) provides a 6-12 month residential stay in safe, supportive recovery housing, including access to counseling, case management, office-based opioid treatment (OBOT), and pregnancy and postpartum-specific care coordination. Mothers involved in this program also receive assistance to secure longer-term housing, healthcare, employment, and quality childcare. The overarching goal is to help mothers with substance use disorder (SUD) to stabilize and thrive through access to safe housing, comprehensive treatment, and wrap-around supports. PI Mary Beth DunkenbergerLara Nagle, and Laura York have provided technical assistance and grant proposal support to assist Piedmont Community Services with the launch and maintenance of the PEARL program, in partnership with Mel Jones and Andrew McCoy of the VT Center for Housing Research.

The PEARL program has been initiated in Franklin County with plans to eventually expand housing resources into the Piedmont Community Services service area that includes Franklin, Henry, and Partick Counties, and Martinsville City. If you are interested in supporting this initiative, please contact Monica Flora, Treatment and Recovery Coordinator at Piedmont, or Mary Beth Dunkenberger.

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David Moore, in collaboration with Total Action for Progress (TAP), was awarded $3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide job training and reentry services to incarcerated people. TAP's grant was one of 18 initiatives in 14 states chosen to participate in the $50.6 million federal program. TAP aims to serve 300 participants from Roanoke area jails who are in the post conviction-phase and serving full-time.

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The SAMHSA Evaluation Team at IPG has provided grant performance evaluation, needs and outcome assessments for several Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants for two southwest Virginia community services boards: Mount Rogers Comunity Services and New River Valley Community Services. The purpose of these grants is to expand services to un- and under-insured adults and youth with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorders. The team consists of PI Mary Beth Dunkenberger, Elizabeth Allen, Laura York, and David Moore.

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The Re-Employment, Support, and Training for the Opioid Related Epidemic (RESTORE) program provided by Total Action for Progress (TAP) has assisted women directly and indirectly impacted by the opioid epidemic by providing career services and job training. Substance use disorder (SUD) rates in the service area of the Roanoke and New River Valleys as well as Alleghany Highlands have increased, particularly during COVID-19, increasing the need for this program.

PI Mary Beth Dunkenberger and Lara Nagle conducted a program evaluation of RESTORE analyzing administrative data and findings from surveys and interviews with participants, RESTORE staff and training providers.

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Mount Rogers Community Services (MRCS) provides behavioral health care to a rural region of southwest Virginia including Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, and Wythe Counties and the City of Galax. MRCS has received USDA Emergency Rural Health Care grant funding to expand and optimize their Smyth County mental health campus. The expansion will double the number of beds in the Rhea B. Lawrence (RBL) Recovery Center from eight to 16; add a Crisis Care Center on the same campus; offer a full array of outpatient services for referral; and provide individuals in care with healthy physical outlets.

A team of VT faculty and graduate students will evaluate health outcomes (Mary Beth Dunkenberger, Lara Nagle, Laura York, Liz Allen, and Paul Delaughter, VTIPG), the construction process (Dr. Andrew McCoy and Dr. Xinghua Gao, Myers-Lawson School of Construction), health economics (Dr. Rachel Silverman, Center for Biostatistics and Health Data Science), the partnership network (Dr. David Moore, VTIPG), and the trauma-informed design components (Dr. Elif Tural, School of Design).

SUSTAINABILITY & THE ENVIRONMENT

The Town of Floyd has recently purchased the former Donkenny property in downtown Floyd. The town is interested in redeveloping the property to address housing and local service needs. A team led by Elizabeth Gilboy of the Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC), including Lisa Tucker, Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, Max Stephenson, Lara Nagle, Brad Stephens and Amin Farzaneh of VTIPG, with funding from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), will conduct community engagement to inform conceptual redesigns for the site.

Theo Lim, Assistant Professor in Virginia Tech's Urban Affairs and Planning, along with Research Scientists David Moore and Lara Nagle from the Institute for Policy and Governance, are partnering with Carilion Clinic, Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action, and the City of Roanoke to improve environmental literacy and develop climate resilience with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

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URBAN & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Dr. Max Stephenson, Jr., Director, Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, Bob Leonard, Professor, School of Performing Arts (SOPA), IPG Senior Fellow, Andy Morikawa, IPG Senior Fellow, and Brad Stephens, IPG Graduate Assistant and PhD Student in Planning, Governing, and Globalization (PGG), in partnership with Dr. Scott Tate, Associate Director for Community Innovations, Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (CECE),have been working with alumni of St. Paul's College (SPC) in Lawrenceville, VA, to re-envision the role of this historically Black college and university (HBCU) that closed in 2013. The group has been working with SPC alumnus Chris Stephenson throughout the process, which has included assisting with the group's strategic planning meetings and site visits.

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