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Research in Clinical and Community-Based Settings: Challenges and Opportunities
Research in applied settings comes with many challenges, yet can also provide great opportunity for meaningful research. I will first discuss how research has been integrated into clinical practice at Breaking the Cycle, a prevention and early intervention program for pregnant and parenting women with substance use issues and their young children. Next, I will outline two approaches to community-based research that we have integrated into a multi-year, multi-phase, research and evaluation initiative called Building Connections. The Building Connections initiative involves partnering with community projects across Canada, training project staff to deliver a healthy relationships intervention to women in their own communities, and evaluating the delivery of this intervention. We have adopted a relational approach, in which we intentionally and consistently focus on building relationships, and a trauma-informed approach, in which we highlight safety across all levels. These approaches have facilitated success in conducting safe, meaningful research and evaluation with community partners. Based on these approaches, I will also outline specific strategies and key considerations that we have used in the context of Building Connections, which have facilitated our preliminary success in conducting meaningful community-based research and evaluation.