MEE-Led Workshops

Trauma-Informed Health Communications 101: Targeting Low-Income Communities of Color

This session is designed to improve participants’ cultural competency and ability to communicate with low-income communities of color (particularly urban, African-American communities), to provide them with life-saving health information in a way that is effective and culturally-relevant. It addresses why traditional forms of health communications may not be cost-effective or culturally-sensitive, and also how they may be insulting to low-income audiences and counter-productive to a program’s goals.

During the session, participants will:

  • Increase their awareness and understanding of the worldview and specific cultural and communication dynamics of African-American communities.
  • Identify key differences between oral-based and literate-based cultures.
  • Gain information and context that enhances empathy for clients who reflect different backgrounds, experiences and worldviews from outreach and other staff at the agencies and programs designed to serve them.
  • Enhance their communication and outreach skills with vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ+, through practical, community-tested strategies that not only focus on “what to say,” but also “how to say it.”
  • Participate in hands-on, interactive argument/counter-argument exercises to prepare them for an authentic, and ultimately, effective public health dialogue with low-income African-American communities.
  • Learn the steps required to develop trauma-informed, culturally relevant messaging and materials, including how to develop messages that include references to stress & trauma, resilience and healing/recovery, so that they resonate with audiences who live in at-risk environments.
  • Learn the protective factors that facilitate thriving coping behaviors.
  • Engage in discussions and activities to contextualize the experiences and worldviews of vulnerable populations and how they are negatively impacted by stereotypes and misperceptions.

Community Engagement Concepts That Counter Trauma, Disparities and Lack of Trust

Community engagement is a core element of MEE’s approach to behavior change. We value it. We prioritize it. People ask us all the time, “How are your community engagement tactics different from others in public health?” Of course, “how” is an important piece of the puzzle. But it’s more important to understand the “why” before the “how.”

MEE’s Community Engagement Training will provide a deeper understanding of the importance of community mobilization and how community engagement strategies create wins for both the community and your organization. That “win-win” is what leads to stronger, more vibrant and resilient communities.

Many agencies and organizations are struggling to engage members of affected communities. Participants in MEE’s Community Engagement Training will:

  • Understand how MEE adapts the Strategic Prevention Framework to engage communities (particularly with oral-based cultures) who have been mistreated by the systems and institutions that are supposed to serve and assist them.
  • Learn why having authentic, on-the-ground community engagement in a public health or mental health professional’s “toolbox” counters a lack of trust in mainstream institutions, even though this approach is often ignored because it is perceived as “too hard” to pull off.
  • Learn why using a network of community partners as a message-delivery channel can be both more culturally-relevant and cost-effective than mainstream, traditional media.
  • Learn how to effectively engage and mobilize members of the community for community-wide dialogue by involving numerous access touchpoints.
  • Understand why a combination of digital outreach (high-tech) and on-the-ground, community-based encounters (high-touch) community-based strategies increases both impact and effectiveness of community-engagement efforts for hard-to-reach audiences.
  • Receive an overview of the “how” – MEE’s culturally-relevant community outreach and mobilization strategies and tactics.

MEE will highlight the three (3) community-activation models that it has developed, tested and proven over more than three decades of experience in urban and underserved communities. What all three organically developed, evidence-based models have in common is that they are “bottom-up” rather than “top-down” approaches to engage communities. They are also trauma-informed, reflecting the often-harsh economic and social realities of underserved populations. Finally, the models extensively involve the target audience in their development and implementation.

Leveraging community relationships takes time and effort, and a willingness to be challenged about one’s intent. This session provides a blueprint for building lasting connections that restore and build trust with the individuals being served. This ultimately results in healthier community norms and improved health and social outcomes.

Ethical and Responsible Research, Clinical Trials and Other Data Collection Methods with Skeptical and Suspicious Audiences

This session explores the first phase of MEE’s “by-and-for” philosophy for developing public health communications—formative audience research. It provides an overview of MEE’s audience research approach, which incorporates data-gathering and communications research as the foundation for every major behavioral health intervention. The session will illuminate how to properly and respectfully execute audience research, in a way that can help internal/external creative teams determine the motivation and persuasion techniques that best reach and influence any target population. The session will cover a multi-layered research approach that includes quantitative data collection, literature reviews and expert interviews, resulting in highly accurate research findings and reports. It will also address how video summaries that use firsthand accounts and stories from the target audience can graphically illustrate the research findings and allow clients to see and hear what the target audience is thinking.

During the session, participants will:

  • Learn how conducting audience research is integral to affecting behavioral changes and can inform a public health communications campaign.
  • Learn MEE’s proven approach to executing effective audience research the different types of audience research, and what makes MEE’s process unique.
  • Discuss and assess how audience research can inform message and materials development.

Moving Young Black Men Beyond Survival Mode: Protective Factors for Their Mental Health

This workshop focuses on how to prevent or reduce mental health issues among boys and men of color (BMOC) by promoting the protective factors that counter the risk factors (social determinants) that too often keep BMOC in survival mode. Using a “protective factors framework” with BMOC living in low-income, urban communities can provide inoculation against the stressors they will face early on in life. They will be armed with the skills needed to thrive, even in the face of repeated exposure to extreme poverty and adverse childhood experiences.

The content presented will make the case that protective-factor interventions should be studied and evaluated. It raises the bioethical question—why potential “population health” interventions that can provide better outcomes in a cost-effective, culturally-relevant way are not being funded and published. Promoting protective factors to cope with stress and trauma is not a new recommendation, yet a protective factors framework to address and prevent urban youth violence has not been implemented at scale and formally evaluated. Conducting protective-factors interventions will provide the research and evidence base necessary to support the assertion that promoting and reinforcing protective factors will help low-income youth of color survive and thrive.

During the session, participants will:

  • Gain knowledge about the unique social determinants that low-income, urban and under-resourced boys and men of color are forced to navigate. Health disparities in these communities are characterized by ongoing exposure to high doses of stress and trauma and institutional racism. Urban America’s unique brand of trauma includes sustained poverty, regular traumatic episodes like violence in the home and community, criminalization of residents (including police harassment and incarceration), poor public education and even worse housing conditions.
  •  Gain an understanding of why protective factor interventions should be implemented as “population health” interventions and how taking a trauma-informed approach using community engagement tactics provides better outcomes (cost effective, culturally-relevant channels) in low-income urban communities.
  •  Engage in a discussion about why and how some young men of color are not only surviving but are thriving. “Thrivers” are living in the same neighborhoods and exposed to the same social determinants as their peers, but are making different choices, resulting in much healthier mental health outcomes. The discussion will also include “what should be on the horizon” in the field of public health, in order to prevent and reduce mental health issues among young boys and men of color.

Creating Safe Spaces for Engaging African-American Men to Reduce Health Disparities: Meeting Men Where They Are

MEE is excited to offer a new workshop featuring Sulaiman Nuriddin M. Ed. Sulaiman has been facilitating men’s groups for over 20 years. A frequent speaker both nationally and internationally, he is an advocate for men and is a strong social activist for helping men end violence against women.

This interactive workshop is a professional development opportunity for any providers or clinical staff who work directly with parents and families (including home visitors and therapists). The workshop is designed to improve participants’ cultural competency and ability to communicate effectively with low-income African-American men and fathers. The workshop will help participants offer health information to clients in a way that is effective and culturally-relevant.

During the session, participants will:

  • Gain information and context that enhances empathy for clients who reflect different backgrounds, experiences and worldviews from outreach and other staff at the agencies and programs designed to serve them.
  • Engage in discussions and activities to contextualize the experiences and worldviews of African-American men and how they are negatively impacted by stereotypes and misperceptions.
  • Increase their awareness and understanding of the worldview and specific cultural and communication dynamics of African-American men.
  • Gain tips on how to support men being present in their intimate relationships, address struggles related to power and control issues, and end domestic violence.
  • Participate in hands-on, interactive role exercises to prepare them for an authentic, and ultimately, effective dialogue with African-American men and fathers.
  • Learn how to foster safe spaces where men can discuss learned masculinity, make sense of their own feelings and support the feelings of others.

Learning Objectives: This workshop will enhance participants’ ability to create more positive interactions with the men and fathers for whom they provide services. Participants will also receive information about how they can enhance their communication and outreach skills both with couples and individual African-American men and fathers, in order to foster and support healthy interpersonal relationships and reduce intimate partner violence or domestic abuse.

Javier-Led Workshops


From This Moment On

As human beings one of the greatest powers we possess is the power to choose. This program reminds audiences that their personal power to change their lives and change the world around them starts with the choices they make from this moment on. Your past does not have to disqualify you from your future and amazing things can start to happen in your life the moment you realize this and recognize how valuable and necessary each of us truly are. This life-building message delivered through comedy, poetry, and powerful storytelling is guaranteed to move your audience from inspiration to action!

From This Moment On…Thrive

Our culture encourages us to strive for success at any and all costs. More and more research is showing how detrimental constant comparison to others and pressure to always be perfect can be to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Just because you are successful on paper does not guarantee you are thriving. However, individuals who are thriving often experience measurable successes along the way. This presentation reminds participants that it’s okay to not be okay all the time and that we can choose to positively cope and thrive even in the midst of life’s most challenging circumstances.

From This Moment On…Say it Loud, Live it Louder

Young people have been told too often and for too long that they are the “future” or they are “tomorrow’s leaders”. The message this sometimes sends is that they cannot impact their homes, schools, and communities in a positive way right now. This highly engaging and interactive workshop trains young people and their adult allies to identify opportunities to impact schools, communities, and individual lives for the better right now and to get involved in solution-based action planning. If change for the better is going to happen, it can’t just happen to young people, it must happen through them.

Who C.A.R.E.S.? – Keys to Moving 21st Century Students from Inspiration to Action

Young people gravitate toward, respond to, and are willing to learn from adults they believe truly C.A.R.E. about them. Before the learning and development process can begin it is vital that we establish a culture of C.A.R.E. within our homes, schools, programs, and communities. As adults, we have a responsibility to awaken this generation to the chances they have to experience life to the fullest in healthy, positive, and productive ways. We are also called to be allies, using a trauma-informed approach to help them navigate the choices they’re making every day that matter most. Participants will walk away with a new or renewed passion for youth engagement as well as impact tools and resources that are immediately applicable, engaging, relevant, and fun. It’s time to listen, react, share, and do our part to demonstrate to our young people that we truly C.A.R.E.

© MEE Productions 2019