Research & Action Report, Fall/Winter 2014

Mental Health Collaborations

Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., senior research scientist and director of the Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives, continued building partnerships to support the fistula project during a spring trip to France where she collaborated with Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA) and participated in the NGO’s strategic planning efforts. Tsega Meshesha, B.A., research associate, will travel to Gondar , Ethiopia to collect qualitative data from fistula patients there. The team had travelled to Ethiopia in May with for the first stage of this project to develop, implement, and pilot test a low-cost, evidence based depression intervention for women who are in the hospital recovering from fistula repair surgery. Collaborating with WAHA, headquartered in Paris, France, co-principal investigators are Gladstone and Mulu Muleta, M.D., Ph.D., country director, WAHA Ethiopia.

Gladstone is also collaborating with colleagues in Santiago, Chile, assisting with the adaptation of Family Talk intervention for families in which parents have depression, with the goal of reducing their children’s risks for developing depressive symptoms. The aim is for a broad roll-out of the intervention program in Chile.

Firm Trends in Job Polarization in Finland

Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D., senior research scientist/ economist, spent four weeks this summer in Helsinki working at the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) working on the project, “Within and between Firm Trends in Job Polarization.” The project analyzes occupational polarization within and across firms using comprehensive matched employer-employee panel data from Finland. As in most industrialized countries, the occupational distribution in Finland has been polarizing over the last few decades, with the mid-level jobs eroding while the low-skill service occupations and high-skill specialist occupations gain share. Kerr and her colleagues find that the phenomenon is taking place within existing firms, as well as due to firm entry and exit. Service jobs are increasing particularly through the entry and exit dynamics, while the same dynamics are mostly responsible for the eroding of mid-level operating jobs. The share of high-level occupations increases almost equally within and between firms.

Exploring Out-of-School Time in U.S. & Switzerland

Ellen Gannett, M.Ed., director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), and Kathy Schleyer, M.S., NIOST Training Director, met with Michelle Nathalie Jutzi, a visiting scholar and doctoral student from Switzerland who works at the University of Zürich, Insti. At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst this semester, Jutzi is exploring similarities and difference in the afterschool programs, quality, purposes, and workforce between Switzerland and the U.S. Her dissertation project focuses on collaboration between afterschool and public schools in the country. During the meeting, the colleagues explored the possibility of translating the APT into German, undertaking a quality study in Switzerland, and convening a symposium at the EARLI—the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction in Cyprus.

Initial Impact of Open Circle in Uganda

In the spring/summer 2014 issue of Research & Action Report, we reported on the May 2014 collaboration between Open Circle and the Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation (PCEF) in Tororo, Uganda. Since then, Beatrice Achieng Nas, the director of PCEF and recent visiting scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women, has reported that the training continues to be discussed among the villagers in Amor Village, and that the skills, especially those focused on “calming down,” are being regularly utilized by the students in the programs. In response to the success of the Open Circle training programs, and with the assistance of Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., WCW senior research scientist, Nas wrote and received a substantial grant to pilot a new program: Life Skills Camp (held during school holiday breaks in Kampala and Tororo) that will help 170 girls of Namwongo and rural Tororo and Buteleja districts avoid exploitation, build self-confidence, and explore their dreams for the future. The Open Circle team continues to be in conversation with Nas as she develops this initiative.

Now that it is rainy season, seeds that were donated by Open Circle to the parents are being planted and are likely to bear a fruitful crop.

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