New Counseling and Health Research Collective at Work {Vol. 14, Is. 04}

Founding members (l-r) Norma Cofresi, Lucinda Bratini and Dugeidy Ortiz

Founding members (l-r) Norma Cofresi, Lucinda Bratini and Dugeidy Ortiz

By Dugeidy Ortiz, M.A.
The Counseling and Health Research Collective (CHRC) is a new team of students, staff and professors at work on projects that seek to understand the first-generation student experience. Our objective is to integrate our findings into the development and implementation of effective, relevant, targeted, culturally appropriate, and socially just programming, practice, and service.

Studies will take place in the context of Lehman departments, the campus community and beyond. We view health as a multifaceted construct embedded within larger social, structural and environmental factors. These factors influence our students—and our community’s—quality of life and health outcomes.

We use evidence-based practices through a participatory action research (PAR) framework, a collaborative approach that enables students to play a central role as co-researchers. They help create a process through which we can better conceptualize and identify student strengths, challenges and barriers.

We’re looking at multiple lines of study and plan to conduct the following:
• The American College Health Association National College Health Assessment of student health status and needs to better inform our programming.
• A needs-and-assets assessment of new mothers and expectant students and how to increase retention among this at risk population.
• A study of the impact on college achievement of Latina students’ familial experience.
• A collaborative study funded by NIMH to implement and test its Healthy Body Image screening and education tools.
• A study of the multidimensionality of identity and its intersections with race, gender, social class and sexual orientation among students.