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Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, PhD

Tonia Poteat, PhD. MPH, PAC

Research Coordinators

Zaire Cullins, BA

Margaret Roach, MPH

Graduate Student

Melanie Mayfield, MS

The Safety and Health Innovation through Neighborhood Engagement (SHINE) Study is a mixed-methods, community-engaged, process evaluation of structural racism and health inequities in policing and public safety. 

Research shows that police interactions can negatively impact individual's health and well-being especially in Black and Brown communities, which historically are over policed and under-resourced. Cities across the country have responded to this public health need by creating alternatives to traditional policing, like the Holistic Empathetic Assistance Response Teams (HEART) program in Durham, NC. HEART sends a team of clinicians, peer support specialists, and EMTs to certain 911 calls, reducing the need for police involvement and offering social service referrals to those in need. 

The SHINE Study aims to:  

  1. Investigate community members’ experiences with and attitudes toward community safety, police, and preferences for alternative responder interventions, with attention to neighborhood and demographic characteristics.

  2. Understand stakeholder and program participants’ satisfaction with the alternative first responder program and how program implementation can be optimized. 

Study activities include community surveying conducted by knocking on doors, visiting community centers, and using respondent-driven sampling methods in areas with a history of over-policing.  Additionally, the study team has partnered with the Durham Community Safety Department to engage HEART staff, first responders, and program recipients to understand how the HEART program can best meet the needs of the community it serves. 

The overall goal of the project is to leverage findings and community feedback  to make recommendations for improving the HEART program and approaches to promoting community safety in Durham. 

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