Coping Together: A Family Strengthening Program Fostering Resilience and Hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 27, 2021 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health care and psychosocial support for families has been scarce worldwide, including in North Carolina. To help fill this gap, two Durham-based community organizations partnered with a team of faculty and trainees from Duke to develop "Coping Together"—a program to support and strengthen families that was adapted from a similar program implemented in Kenya. Coping Together is a virtual intervention that brings families together to learn family communication, problem solving, and psychological coping skills. It is provided by non-specialists, including community health workers. In this presentation, members of the team from Duke and the main community partner--Together for Resilient Youth--will co-present findings from the first pilot trial of Coping Together here in North Carolina. The team will discuss the formation of the community-Duke partnership, the process of delivering Coping Together during the pandemic, and preliminary data on changes experienced by families who participated in the program.

Dr. Eve Puffer is a global mental health researcher and a licensed clinical psychologist. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating integrated community-based interventions to promote child mental health, improve family functioning, and prevent HIVrisk behavior. She has conducted much of this work in rural Kenya and is excited about beginning projects here in North Carolina. Before joining Duke, Dr. Puffer was a research advisor at the International Rescue Committee conducting evaluations of humanitarian programs in refugee settings. She is an investigator on multiple studies of child mental health and parenting interventions in Thailand, Ethiopia, and Liberia.

Dr. Amber Rieder is a recent graduate of McMaster University's Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program, in Ontario Canada(2019). Amber is currently a Global Mental Health Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, under the mentorship of Dr. Eve Puffer, Dr. Lauren Franz, and Dr. Geraldine Dawson. Amber is interested in accessible approaches to mental health intervention across diverse settings, including community-based parenting and family strengthening programs. Her primary research interests focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), intimate partner violence, and the subsequent intergenerational transmission of risk.

Dr. Wanda Boone is the Executive Director of the non-profit Together for Resilient Youth (“TRY”)--the major partner for the Coping Together project--and is deeply engaged in Durham, NC communities. Dr. Boone is a member of influential national, statewide and local committees focused on prevention and intervention initiatives focused on many goals, including reducing substance use among youth and increasing awareness about the effects of trauma on children and adults. She holds numerous positions in the community, with a selected few including: Co-founder of the East Durham Children's Initiative, Member of the Governor's Task Force on Substance Use and Gangs, Co-Chair on the Mayor's Poverty Reduction Initiative Public Safety and Health Subcommittees, Chair of the Health Committee of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, and Member of the Duke Population Health Improvement Leadership Advisory Board.

This event is cosponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center, the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies, the Duke Global Health Institute, and Bass Connections. 

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  • Duke University Center for International and Global Studies
  • John Hope Franklin Center
  • Wednesdays at the Center Series