Participatory Research starts from the principle of research with, not research for. In practice this means working closely with community partners to co-develop a research program, one that reflects the capacities and abilities of community members involved in the project and GT students and faculty.
This course will introduce the sociology of medicine and health (also known as medical sociology or sociology of health and illness), which is a broad field examining the social production of health, wellness, illness and mortality. This sub-discipline of sociology starts from the assumption that we cannot understand the topics of health and illness simply by looking at biological phenomena and medical knowledge.
This presentation tool, based on a lesson created by Yelena Rivera-Vale and Kristina Chatfield for their GT 1000 course, introduces first year students to community organizations working on initiatives in the local Atlanta area. Interviewing members, actively participating in organizational activities, and then reporting on these experiences allows students a chance to not only further explore the ways that Georgia Tech actively partners with community organizations but also offers a chance to see some of the successes produced by these partnerships first-hand.
This tool uses the ReGenesis case study from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to explore what it means to "create sustainable communities" through broad stakeholder engagement. Spartanburg was found to be experiencing higher levels of health issues due to chemical plants and other polluting factors in the area. ReGenesis, a community-based organization led by community member Harold Mitchell – now a member of the South Carolina legislature –worked with the EPA to use their Collaborative Problem Solving methodology to expose the inequity and turn the community around.
This tool was contributed by Christian Braneon and Delaney Rickles. The affiliated case study, "ReGenesis—A Practical Application of the CPS Model," was written by the EPA.