By Kerianne Fernandez
After three months of collaboration with my Bass Connections-Durham team, I am excited that we are finally taking steps toward an exciting part of the research project, implementing the intervention in the local Latino community! In June, I was so glad for the opportunity to participate with the focus groups and interact directly with our target population to address intimate partner violence. Observing and speaking with these men and women makes our work much more meaningful. Now, we are well on our way to conduct the four intervention sessions.
As a member of the evaluation team, the bulk of my contribution to the project will occur in the next few weeks, as we work to get the intervention plan off the ground. Our Bass group has met several afternoons throughout the summer, and we have submitted an IRB protocol describing our intended population and our vision for the intervention sessions. More recently, we have crafted an outline to guide the goals of the remainder of the project, which required input and a consensus from the whole team.
Then, the intervention team got to work outlining the goals we wish to accomplish throughout the four intervention sessions. In my role as an evaluator, I learned that evaluation occurs as much during the intervention as after it, because our work provides feedback to shape the intervention process as well as signal to the team and community the final impact after the intervention sessions have ended. I have a pretty analytical background, but for all the work I’ve done with underserved populations, I’ve never had to set my own bar and then determine if the results hit the mark. Now, I’m essentially learning how to do that.
As part of this, the evaluation team must help shape what goals we’d like to see accomplished. One thing I’ll work on is submitting a rough draft of intervention questions that we’ll ask 4 – 7 participants after the four intervention sessions. I’ll then present this to the rest of the evaluation team for feedback.
We've worked in partnership with the community to identify issues they would like support addressing. In the process, it's also increased our own awareness about intimate partner violence, and the resilience of survivors of this pervasive form of abuse. Unfortunately, partner violence crosses all cultures, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic classes. However, immigrant populations face additional barriers in addressing these issues including language and cultural barriers and potentially undocumented immigration status. We hope that our intervention will help increase participants' self-efficacy for talking about intimate partner violence and increase awareness of available resources. We'll have to see if the evaluation indicates we are successful in achieving these goals.