BrotherlyACT: Technology-Enhanced Contemplative Practices for Violence-Impacted Young Black Men

Chuka Emezue, PhD, MPH, MPA
Associate Professor, Rush University Medical Center

We are currently conducting an IRB-approved formative study to develop and adapt a culturally tailored, strength-based web and mobile-accessible intervention called BrotherlyACT. This intervention is designed to prevent and reduce serious youth violence and lethality among young Black males (YBM), ages 15-24, by offering them brief psychoeducation on contemplative practices and non-judgmental behavior change strategies, as well as add-on digital tools (for risk assessment, goal setting, safety planning, and positive future orientation) – all delivered via a digital platform that meets YBM where they are.

BrotherlyACT will be based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Using a community-engaged approach, we will conduct a concurrent needs assessment of this type of intervention and rapid prototyping sessions with YBM (15-24 years) who have perpetrated any form of youth violence in the past year and their service providers with insights specific to Chicago neighborhoods.  

Minigrant funds will be used for a 3-day violence prevention and youth health hackathon.  We welcome YBM, ages 15-17, who live in Chicago or surrounding areas and interested in understanding the principles of mobile app and mHealth design, to participate in an online hands-on workshop. Our goals are 1) to spark their interest in mHealth interventions and even lead them to IT careers, 2) to provide them with technical experience that can be a viable addition to job CV/resume and college applications, 3) to provide participants with a learning opportunity that is hands-on and interdisciplinary. 4) Finally, we hope to provide certificates and the possibility of receiving a recommendation letter from the study team for college and job applications.

Community Partners: Chicago Black Therapists Network, Hekademeia Research Solutions