Selected projects completed by Catalyst Research & Communication (previously known as Catalyst Health Concepts) include:
To support the Loan Repayment Program at the National Institutes of Health, Catalyst (as a subcontractor to NETE) designed and implemented a relaunch of its dormant Ambassador Program. LRP Ambassadors are biomedical researchers who received funding from NIH to pay off their educational loans, thereby allowing them to remain in research. Ambassadors provide outreach about the LRPs to potential candidates at their home institutions. Relaunch activities included design of an Ambassador webpage; development of a digital toolkit, training webinar, and collateral materials; and creation of social media messages.
To help the Loan Repayment Program at the National Institutes of Health understand the needs and interests of its outreach Ambassadors, Catalyst researchers (as a subcontractor to NETE) conducted in-depth telephone interviews with 30 biomedical researchers who had participated in the LRP Ambassador Program. Results indicated a high regard for the LRP Program, but a need for greater clarity of purpose about and stronger training in support of their Ambassador roles.
The Physician-Scientist Workgroup, charged with providing guidance to the Director of the National Institutes of Health in how to strengthen the physician-scientist workforce needed information about facilitators and barriers to pursuing a biomedical research career among specific audiences: medical, dental and veterinary students; young researchers; and female physician-scientists. As a subcontractor to NETE, Catalyst conducted telephone-based focus groups with students across the country who were recruited in collaboration with student associations, and conducted telephone interviews with a sample of NIH K Award recipients (early career investigators) and women who had received an NIH research award. Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote the Workgroup's report about the current status of physician-scientists with recommendations for strengthening the pipeline for future physician-scientists.
The Great Garden Detective Adventure is a garden-related nutrition curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade funded by Team Nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Catalyst developed the standards-based 11-lesson curriculum with input from an expert panel and insights from focus groups with students and parents; an independent third-party evaluator conducted a pilot test of the program in three schools in different parts of the country.
On behalf of the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Catalyst partners conducted a strategic planning initiative to close the achievement gap between students of color (African Americans and Latinos) and their white counterparts in a lower-income area within Montgomery County. The initiative included collaborative meetings among the heads of various county agencies and the schools, interviews and focus groups with nonprofit service providers, and asset-mapping. The initiative resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between DHHS and the schools to share information about at-risk students and provide intensive support services to those in greatest need.
In collaboration with the Congressionally-mandated Family Caregiver Panel and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), a joint agency comprised of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Catalyst developed a four-module curriculum to support caregivers of service members and veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI is the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The four modules addressed an introduction to TBI; an overview of the effects of TBI and what caregivers can do to ameliorate them; the practical and emotional effects of being a family caregiver; and how to navigate the federal bureaucracy to obtain needed services and benefits. A "caregiver's companion" was also developed as a portable repository of important medical and service records. The curriculum received a standing ovation from the Defense Health Board. It may be accessedonline at www.traumaticbraininjuryatoz.org.
On behalf of the Rosalyn Carter Institute on Caregiving at Southwest Georgia State University, Catalyst developed the content for a 10-lesson online curriculum about the caregiver's journey, from the time of initial diagnosis/entry into caregiving to the transition to institutional care and, eventually, death of the care receiver. The curriculum focused on both the practical aspects of caregiving as well as its impact on the caregiver's emotional and physical health. A special emphasis was placed on the positive aspects of the caregiving experience.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) contracted with Catalyst to conduct an environmental scan of major federal and non-federal programs addressing overweight and obesity in the U.S. The scan was conducted through a survey of Internet resources and program officials, using a snowball approach. Program description, sample materials, funding sources, and program evaluation information was obtained. The report included an overview and analysis of the programs, and individual profiles of each program identified through the research. The purpose of this formative research was to augment strategic planning for upcoming NIDDK initiatives.
As a sub-contractor to ToucanEd, Catalyst partners participated in an external expert panel review of the Maryland State Department of Education's Voluntary State Curriculum (VSC) in Health Education. The purpose of the review was to ensure an appropriate scope and sequence for essential learnings in health by analyzing draft documents in health education at grades PreK-12 for content rigor, developmental appropriateness, clarity of language, parallel levels of specificity in format, assessability, and consistency with the VSCs in mathematics and reading. Partner Donna Lloyd-Jones presented the findings of the review panel to the Maryland State Board of Education.
Catalyst facilitated a strategic planning process for the Senior Empowerment Zone Commission which was mandated to provide recommendations to the Maryland State Legislature about how to help seniors "age in place." To facilitate the development of recommendations, Catalyst conducted a literature review as well as interviews with state and national aging in place experts, and facilitated six Commission-wide meetings in addition to many sub-committee deliberations. The final report, written by Catalyst, recommended that Maryland adopt a modified version of Florida's Communities for a Lifetime program as a model for its statewide initiative.
For the Nutrition Science Research Group at the National Cancer Institute, Catalyst began a strategic planning process to support the development of a research roadmap that would guide the organization's research efforts over a ten-year period. Planning activities included an analysis of current and previous grant-making efforts, key informant interviews with internal stakeholders, identification of an expert review panel, and development of an overview paper.
As sub-contractor to Circle Solutions, Inc., Catalyst conducted literature reviews and key informant interviews to inform the planning for a national education initiative about arthritis targeted to older African Americans that was planned by the National Institute on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (NIAMS). The literature reviews addressed the prevalence and morbidity of arthritis among African Americans, the demographics of the target audience, their preferred sources of health information, information design issues, and cultural appropriateness.