More about adaptation
As the bering strait curriculum was developed…
The Regional Steering Committee oversaw changes and tested new material with the researchers. They listened to facilitators’ feedback on what worked and what could be improved in the PC CARES pilot and set priorities for the next iteration of the curriculum.
Community-based participatory research relies on stakeholders’ equal partnership and co-learning with study staff. In this project, the mechanism for local leadership is the Regional Steering Committee, which meets telephonically once every 1-2 months and in-person each year.
One example of the adaptations to the curriculum after the pilot came from facilitators in the Northwest Arctic, who found it difficult keep interest in the program over the 9 different learning circles. Few community members attended more than 4 learning circles, despite the fact that the content was new each time. Facilitators also found a program so long was difficult to sustain, due to demands on time. In response, the Bering Strait Curriculum distilled the materials from 9 to 5 learning circles.
Another major revision was at the direction of the Regional Steering Committee. The committee attested that in order to break the cycle of youth suicide, there needed to be space for grief and healing from a suicide death. Acknowledging when someone dies by suicide and discussing this complicated grief, as well as response plans to make it less likely another suicide will occur, are included in Learning Circle 4.
Photos by Kalynna Booshu.