Our Approach

Societal challenge lies in creating practices that solve problems in a valid way. Academia commonly employs a theory-application approach where experts define and frame the problems that need to be solved.

The Community Design for Health and Wellness Interdisciplinary Research Group (CDHW-CDHW-IRG) explores how, and when, research problems can instead be defined more pragmatically, especially by the people whose lives are practically impacted by the problems. Thus, the CDHW-IRG’s approach is to support projects that explore the process of designing and building solutions to community-defined problems in the emerging landscape for health and wellness.

The goal of the CDHW-IRG is to evaluate the validity of the first three parts of the following research process so that supported projects can build a sustainable way to move towards project completion. These include:

  • Identification of a population-specific problem in health and wellness by a community;
  • Formation of a team with community and academic partners to characterize the problem and what would count as a solution;
  • Iterative, collaborative process of solution-design that leverages the community partners’ knowledge of the community and the problem and the researchers’ academic resources;
  • Evaluation of the solution in the specific population;
  • Generalization of the solution to other related problems in the same population or to the same problem in related populations.