TROSA Model (2020)


Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Filled


  • Health care access,
  • Mental health,
  • Substance use


  • United States


  • Durham (possible travel to Triad region), North Carolina

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

TROSA Model (2020)

Project Objectives

TROSA is an award-winning, innovative, multi-year licensed residential program that provides comprehensive recovery services for men and women with substance use disorders. TROSA serves an extremely vulnerable population who have faced multiple barriers to success--nearly 90% have no health insurance and do not have stable housing; over 80% have been incarcerated; a quarter do not have a high school diploma. TROSA provides a variety of services including, but not limited to safe and sober housing, daily care needs, vocational training, mental health and general counseling, health care, and education advancement opportunities.

TROSA is a modified therapeutic community and relies on its residents (clients) and staff alike as key agents of change. These change agents influence individual attitudes, perceptions and behaviors. TROSA believes that a positive change in behavior resulting from increased community connection and awareness of and accountability for one's actions make for successful program outcomes at TROSA. TROSA staff are interested in learning how they can sustain and increase such "success" and how they can continue to improve-upon and deliver an effective program.

Project Opportunities

Program staff and fellow residents lead by example, pitching-in on many varying tasks that are all essential for the success of our community, while modeling positive behavior and attitudes. Students will engage in day-to-day tasks alongside staff and residents, and conduct both qualitative and quantitative studies with our population to help better understand program needs and factors related to program effectiveness. Students will work with TROSA staff and faculty members to formulate a tailored field experience, and will be encouraged to develop questions and look for answers derived from pre-established 'big picture' questions that TROSA staff have identified, and from new findings that may arise once working with datasets.

Specific activities students can be expected to preform include but are not limited to:

  • Interacting with TROSA residents and graduates and modeling positive behavior
  • Assisting in all aspects of TROSA's daily delivery of services, including TROSA's intake, medical, and program offices
  • Assisting in TROSA's administrative requirements to help keep our services running smoothly for over 500 residents and graduates
  • Conducting, transcribing and analyzing focus groups and surveys of TROSA residents and graduates, both in-person, over the phone, and through anonymous written and online tools
  • Looking at data from last 20 years, which represents demographic data and program participation details of TROSA residents, and thinking about interesting and thoughtful questions to discuss, explore and analyze
  • Students may travel between TROSA properties located in Durham

Project Application Process

Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to by October 14, 2019. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen.

A guided tour of TROSA's Durham campus, provided by TROSA, required. Interested applicants will be provided with standing date and time options to schedule their tour.

To ensure the TROSA community remains a safe and sober living environment, students will be expected to refrain from engaging in any illicit drug use and alcohol consumption during their work period. Given the population being served, some prescribed medications may require oversight and further discussions to minimize risk. Please be prepared to have frank, but confidential conversations about this in the interview process. TROSA cannot allow convicted arsonists or sex offenders on its campus and such offenses will need to exclusionary criteria for this site. Selected applicants will undergo a background check to screen for these criteria.

Project Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria: (Language, Program, Area of interest, Year of graduation, GPA):

  • Very strong interpersonal and communications skills
  • Flexibility, non-judgmental demeanor, and open-mindedness towards individuals with substance use and mental health disorders
  • Sensitivity to and respect for individuals who have been victims of severe trauma in their lives (including sexual, physical, and mental abuse) and an ability to personally and professionally process these experiences for oneself, and to seek-out TROSA staff or faculty guidance when needed
  • Commitment to learning about therapeutic communities, addiction, and recovery
  • High comfort-level and ability to deal maturely with personal details being shared by strangers
  • Interest in qualitative and quantitative social science research.
  • Ability and commitment to adhere to strict confidentiality requirements and follow federal and state guidelines around client confidentiality
  • Interest in sorting and manipulating data, and exploring new ideas and questions (a working knowledge of MS Excel or other data analysis tools a plus)
  • A drive to delve into big questions, mine a multitude of ideas and factors, explore socio-determinants of health... and a heart to recognize that there are real lives behind stats and numbers