Collaborative Research Initiative

Collaborative Research Initiative partner to build community capacity that empowers families and individuals to optimize their own well-being. We currently have the following projects:

The Evaluation of the Indiana Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Project is a comprehensive longitudinal evaluation of two federally funded evidence based home visiting programs in Indiana. The MIECHV grants were awarded to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), and as part of the project both the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and the Indiana State Department of Health act as co-lead agencies for the grant. All Indiana MIECHV evaluation activities were planned collaboratively and designed to assist state project administrators and local program managers with program improvement and to inform policy makers about the Indiana MIECHV project performance. An evaluation advisory board, consisting of multiple stakeholders, meets monthly to review the work of the evaluation team. Data for the evaluation studies come from several sources, including (a) state administrators; (b) home visitors; and (c) the two home visiting program management information systems. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses are conducted across the range of MIECHV evaluation activities.

Project LAUNCH
Indiana Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) is a grant-funded early childhood wellness program administered by the Indiana State Department of Health. This program aims to improve the overall wellbeing of young children (ages 0 – 8) and their families, with a special emphasis on socio-emotional health and is currently being piloted in a rural, eight county region in Southeastern Indiana through the non-profit, system of care agency One Community One Family. This project utilizes core strategies that include service implementation and enhancement, infrastructure and policy development, and the reduction of behavioral health disparities. The local evaluation consists of seven sub-studies examining systems change, workforce development and mental health promotion, implementation of screening and referral practices, primary care and mental health integration, the Incredible Years® parenting program, implementation of programmatic early childhood mental health consultation, and the implementation of Conscious Discipline in Head Start classrooms.

The South Eastern Local Community Coalitions Collaborative Team (SEL3CT), comprised of the Local Coordinating Councils (LCCs) of Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties is committed to reducing underage drinking and substance abuse in their communities. In partnership with the One Community One Family (OCOF) and the Collaborative Research Initiative (CRI), SEL3CT has formed in order to develop, implement, and evaluate effective region-wide strategies to reduce substance abuse that are truly focused on Southeastern Indiana.


The Collaborative Research Initiative is currently conducting a preliminary outcome evaluation of the The Dearborn County Jail Chemical Addiction Program (JCAP) via a grant from the Dearborn Community Foundation. JCAP serves men and women who struggle from addiction issues, with rates of heroin and other opiates being particularly troublesome in the Southeastern Indiana region. The unique context of JCAP is that it serves a population residing in a jail setting, prior to sentencing for felony crimes or probation violations. JCAP participants voluntarily apply for the program and are submitted to a rigorous assessment procedure that utilizes a variety of data sources in order to identify and admit participants who are ready and willing to change.

JCAP men and women participate in the evidence-based programming, Criminal Conduct& Substance Abuse Treatment (CCSAT) and Thinking for a Change (T4C), which are rooted in the well-researched therapeutic intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and are geared specifically for offender populations. Participants learn effective coping skills to help reduce criminal conduct and their dependence on substances. JCAP participants are housed in pods that are separate from the general jail population, where they adhere to additional rules and self-governing principals that create a therapeutic community. .

Project Members

Allison Howland, Ph.D.
Meagan Benetti
Li-Ting Chen, Ph.D.
Xiaokai Jia
Justin Paulsen
Yuming Peng
Maureen Mahns
Lauren Wright
Po-Ju Wu
Nicole Zautra