Current projects

The Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project
Project Leads: Tyler Frederick, PhD., Ontario Tech University; Lorraine Closs, M.S.W, Durham College
Community Partners: The Regional Municipality of Durham, Lakeridge Health, Ontario Tech University
Funding Source: Mitacs and The Regional Municipality of Durham
Duration: October 2021 – October 2022
Summary:

Durham College is partnering with the Regional Municipality of Durham, Lakeridge Health, and Ontario Tech University to explore housing best practices and evaluate the success of a 10-unit micro-home community in central Oshawa that will offer temporary transitional housing with various supports, including financial assistance, employment services, mental health and addictions supports, and life skills teaching. Lorraine Closs, a professor at Durham College, will collaborate with Dr. Tyler Frederick, associate professor at Ontario Tech University, to develop an evaluation plan and apply for further research funding. Beyond the evaluation, the project also aims to explore best practices for stakeholder engagement and co-production as it relates to supportive housing in the Region. Lakeridge Health will contribute to the success of this pilot by ensuring program participants have access to community-based mental health and addiction supports. They will serve as health sector leaders on the planning working group to develop the support model for residents and will partner with Durham College and Ontario Tech University to create the evaluation plan of the pilot.

The Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project is aligned with At Home In Durham, the Durham Housing Plan (2014-2024), which aims to end chronic homelessness in Durham. Learn more at durham.ca/OshawaMicroHomes.

Social innovation in applied research: Mobilizing knowledge and co-designing a path forward
Faculty members: Nicole Doyle, School of Justice and Emergency Services; Jennifer Bedford, School of Media, Art and Design; Lorraine Closs, School of Health and Community Services; Teresa Goff, School of Media, Art and Design
Collaborators: Alison Burgess, The Regional Municipality of Durham;  Julie MacIsaac, City of Oshawa
ORSIE staff: Colleen McKay, Debbie McKee Demczyk, Sara-Ruth Allen, Rachel Henderson
Funding Source: SSHRC Connection Grant
Duration: July 2021 – June 2022
Summary: This SSHRC Connection grant will enable Durham College to mobilize knowledge gained from a variety of current social innovation applied research projects, strengthen community partnerships and identify future projects to address existing social challenges in the community. The event will contribute to articulation of the mandate and scope of a new Social Innovation applied research centre at the college. To this end, the proposed event will serve to identify and refine a collaborative strategy for sharing social innovation research activities and defining collective next steps. The project activities will culminate in deliverables that include knowledge products in both a written report and multimedia formats created by our talented team of Media, Art and Design students. Through collective exploration of what social innovation means to the community, the College will lead the design of a shared Social Innovation Framework and define ways to support community goals.
Raising Resilient Families: Empowering Parents with Cognitive Challenges
Project Lead: Amanda Cappon, School of Health and Community Services; Kay Corbier, School of Health and Community Services
Community Partners: The Regional Municipality of Durham, Huntington Society of Canada, Starfish Parent Support Program, Durham Association for Family Resources and Support, Durham Children’s Aid Society, Brock University, University of Toronto
Funding Source: College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Duration: June 2021 – May 2024
Summary: All parents, including those with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD), play a critical role in child development especially in the early years before peers become a prominent factor. As individuals with ID/DD become parents, they may require individualized supports (learning how to diaper, feed, bathe, bedtime routines, etc.) to foster a safe and healthy environment for their child to avoid removal of the child from the family home. Unfortunately, skills-building supports are not always appropriate or available to this population and therefore the objective of this project is to develop a model of support that is proactive and addresses the social issues that impact these parents, including trauma, institutionalization, and violation of human rights based on best practices identified and input from parents with ID/DD as well as key partners. Co-production and community-based participatory research methodologies will be used to investigate challenges and barriers for families impacted by ID/DD with the goal of forging early intervention strategies with community partners that honour the strengths of families, ultimately eliminating the need to remove a child from their family or cultural community.
Building Bridges Together: Co-production of Financial Empowerment Strategies with People Experiencing Low Income
Project Lead: Lorraine Closs, School of Health and Community Services
Community Partners: Regional Municipality of Durham, Oshawa Public Libraries, North House, Durham Workforce Authority, Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre, Durham Community Legal Clinic, Iriss - Scotland
Funding Source: College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Duration: March 2020 - March 2023
Summary: Numerous community volunteer income tax clinics exist across the Durham Region to help low income residents reclaim lost income tax benefits through free-of-charge assistance to file income tax returns and increase awareness of other tax benefits available. These clinics are enhancing access; however, research has shown that available supports are insufficient, and barriers to filing taxes remain, especially for low-income residents. The project will enable collaborative activities between services providers and people living on low income to identify needs related to financial literacy and uncover useful financial empowerment strategies. The goal is to provide evidence in support of these co-designed strategies that can ultimately be leveraged by regions across Canada.
Innovation through co-production: A holistic approach to supporting social competency in pre-school children
Project Leads: Nicole Doyle, School of Justice and Emergency Services; Corrine McCormick-Brighton, School of Health and Community Services
Collaborator Ann Le Sage, PhD., Ontario Tech University
Community Partners: Regional Municipality of Durham- Social Services Department, YMCA of Greater Toronto, Durham Region Health Department
Funding Source: College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Duration: March 2020 – March 2023
Summary: Every three years the Early Development Instrument, a survey completed for each student by senior kindergarten teachers, measures children’s ability to meet age appropriate developmental expectations. Since 2009, the results of the survey have shown Durham Region children, as well as those across Ontario, are not meeting developmental expectations in the area of social competence. Children are struggling to get along with others, show respect, take responsibility, and follow rules and routines – key developmental areas linked to academic success, enhanced job prospects, and improved physical and mental health outcomes. The project will undertake a series of co-production workshops with stakeholders to design tools to be used by early childhood educators and parents to enhance pre-school children’s social competence skills. The project will measure the impact of the tools and evaluate the co-design process to ensure maximum impact.
Enriching firefighter training through the development of a novel virtual reality training simulation for personalized, precision skill and resilience training
Project Leads: Michael Williams-Bell, PhD. School of Health and Community Services; John Goodwin, School of Media, Art and Design
Collaborator David Copithorne, PhD., Post-doctoral fellow, Durham College; Bernadette Murphy, PhD., Bill Kapralos, PhD., Andrew Hogue, PhD., Carolyn McGregor, PhD., Ontario Tech University
Community Partners: City of Oshawa - Oshawa Fire Services, Public Services Health and Safety Association
Funding Source: College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); Mitacs Accelerate Post-doctoral Fellowship; TeachingCity Oshawa
Duration: March 2020 – March 2023
Summary: Firefighter training in real fire scenarios is extremely high cost requiring significant resources as well as great personal health risks for trainees. Many firefighters unable to train in real-life scenarios are not well prepared and suffer a variety of natural but adverse reactions when exposed to real fire scenes. Project activities will involve the use of virtual reality (VR) simulating uncontrolled fire scenarios while monitoring trainee’s physiological response to stimuli in order to improve training efficacy and safety for firefighters.