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New mapping tool plots social science projects with 130 community partners

McMaster University’s Faculty of Social Sciences has launched the Community Research Platform, an initiative that brings together academics and community organizations to tackle some of the most significant challenges facing the Hamilton community.

Apr 21, 2021

“McMaster has world class social scientists working in areas such as mental health, homelessness, and inequality among others,” said Leora Sas van der Linden, program manager for the Community Research Platform. “Our aim is to connect this expertise to the work happening on the ground in a mutually beneficial way. Community organizations gain access to university resources and research to help make evidence-based decisions regarding program and service delivery.  Academics work in collaboration with community experts to produce scholarly knowledge that is relevant and impactful.” 

To mark the launch of the Community Research Platform, the Faculty of Social Sciences partnered with McMaster University Library to develop an interactive website that highlights the more than 70 projects presently being conducted by social sciences researchers with 130 community partners worldwide. New projects are added to the site in real-time to maintain a comprehensive overview of the faculty’s community-engaged research activities.  

“By mapping the community-engaged research partnerships underway within the Faculty of Social Sciences, we are showcasing McMaster’s commitment to working collaboratively with community partners to address issues that impact us all,” said Sas van der Linden. “At the same time, we are trying to emphasize the importance of community partners in advancing scholarly research. The benefits of these relationships flow both ways; we’re looking to build genuine partnerships.” 

Among the more recent Community Research Platform projects is a partnership between postdoctoral fellow Diana Singh and the Hamilton branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). The partnership seeks to address implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for mental health workers. While the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of Canadians has been well-documented, there has been little investigation into the well-being of those workers on the front line of the ongoing national mental health crisis spurred by COVID-19. Dr. Singh and the CMHA of Hamilton are working together to assess the impact of sustained exposure by mental health workers to a protracted mental health crisis. The partnership will also seek to develop training and other resources to help mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on Canada’s mental health workers. 

To access the Mapping Community Engaged Partnerships website visit https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/4857c25715e448b6b690ea2dfcf4ea75   

For more information please contact: 

Leora Sas van der Linden 
Program Manager, Community Research Platform 
Faculty of Social Sciences 
McMaster University 
sasvandl@mcmaster.ca  

Dr. Diana Singh 
Postdoctoral Fellow 
Department of Sociology 
McMaster University 
singhd22@mcmaster.ca