KU News: KU marketing experts help expand teen crisis and suicide prevention program to hundreds of families

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KU marketing experts help expand teen crisis and suicide prevention program to hundreds of families
LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas graduate class recently completed a collaboration with Prepped and Ready, an evidence-based program developed at Children’s Mercy Hospital to help parents prevent crises among their teens, with topics including suicide prevention. The partnership has taken the program online, notably expanding enrollment and reaching a more diverse audience of parents.

KU resecures $7M in federal funding for Educational Opportunity Programs
LAWRENCE — The Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) has recently secured over $7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the University of Kansas can continue to help first-generation and low-income students not only reach college but also be successful once they get there. Under the leadership of CEOP director Ngondi Kamaṱuka, the university received funding to continue four highly successful TRIO programs: KU TRIO Upward Bound, KU TRIO Talent Search and two KU TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers, which have decades-long legacies of supporting Kansans.

KU announces online professional studies undergraduate programs for fall 2022
OVERLAND PARK — The University of Kansas is launching a new online bachelor’s degree program in professional studies for the 2022-2023 academic year, giving students with an associate degree or equivalent hours the chance to enter a growing and in-demand field. The curricular flexibility will allow students to pursue a variety of professional paths, including in project and health care management.

Engineering professor to join KU Research leadership team
LAWRENCE – Candan Tamerler, a professor of engineering at the University of Kansas, will join the Office of Research as associate vice chancellor. As a member of the senior leadership team, Tamerler will help oversee a number of areas that support the KU research mission, including research centers, core labs and strategic planning.

Full stories below.

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Contact: Mike Krings, KU News Service, 785-864-8860, [email protected], @MikeKrings
KU marketing experts help expand teen crisis and suicide prevention program to hundreds of families
LAWRENCE — Any parent can attest the teenage years can be trying, even in the best of times. A University of Kansas graduate class recently completed a collaboration with Prepped and Ready, an evidence-based program developed at Children’s Mercy Hospital to help parents prevent crises among their teens, with topics including suicide prevention, addressing eating disorders, vaping, the development of the teenage brain and more. The partnership has taken the program online, notably expanding enrollment and reaching a more diverse audience of parents.
The COVID-19 pandemic influenced life in nearly every aspect, adding stress to both teens and parents. But it also provided an opportunity to expand the reach of Prepped and Ready as more aspects of life moved to an online-delivery model. The program wanted to reach more families and a more diverse cross-section of parents and caregivers. Angie Hendershot, professor of the practice in KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, led a partnership with her capstone integrated marketing communications course and Dr. Shayla Sullivant, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Mercy and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. The collaboration developed new ways to promote the program, featuring a series of informative videos. The partnership helped to boost enrollment and deliver suicide prevention toolkits to hundreds of families throughout Kansas and Missouri.
Hendershot’s class included the research team of graduate students and working professionals Angi Gerstner, Janene Kruger and Tim Seley as their final project to complete their master’s degrees in integrated marketing communications. The team met with Sullivant and her colleagues to determine strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for program growth. Sullivant has since implemented several of the team’s recommendations. The implementation of program delivery by video has helped boost enrollment and the program has reached more than 500 families since the new video series was launched, Sullivant said. The partnership has also helped expand reach of Prepped and Ready from primarily white mothers to a more diverse group, including more fathers, well beyond the Kansas City area.
Perhaps most notably, the team identified a partnership with Cottonwood Industries to prepare and deliver suicide prevention toolkits to hundreds of families. The kits include medication lockboxes, weekly medication organizers, bags to dispose of medications, as well as cable gun locks and gun lockboxes for firearm owners. The kits were created based on research showing that education paired with provision of tools leads to more changes among parents who want to reduce the risk of suicide in their homes.
“One of the most powerful messages we took away is that the key thing we can do is put more time between suicidal ideation and access to the means. That’s why these kits are so vital,” Hendershot said. “The messages we developed were successful at getting parents to think, not only about their own children, but of their friends and families’ as well. It’s a very powerful, evidence-based approach Dr. Sullivant has come up with, and it was a powerful experience for our students to use their communication skills to share that messaging.”
Through her work with delivering Prepped and Ready in person, Sullivant surveyed caregivers about what they learned and their intentions to change behavior following participation in Prepped and Ready. Results published in February showed that firearm owners were five times more likely to store their firearms locked, unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, after participating in Prepped and Ready. Additionally, 56.5% of participants reported disposing of old medications, and 53% reported safely storing medication by the program’s conclusion. The study was published in the Journal of Community Health.
In addition to providing safety toolkits, adding the ability to deliver the program on-demand greatly expanded Prepped and Ready’s access. Previously, the program was offered in person and via webinars, in conjunction with community partners such as schools and churches. This limited the opportunity for many caregivers to participate, as well as the numbers of experts who could share their knowledge. By adding an asynchronous learning component, more experts were able to share information via video, and parents with many demands on their time were able to take part when their schedules allowed. The program was recently awarded grant funding through the Health Levy Innovation Fund to expand its reach in Kansas City, Missouri.
“The students’ efforts have made a huge difference in helping us to move forward. Publicizing this opportunity has been a huge learning curve, as this is not something I learned in medical school,” Sullivant said. “The recommendations from the students have been a priceless addition to our efforts. This partnership has been critical to our success.”
Anyone interested in Prepped and Ready can learn more at the program website.
This fall Sullivant plans to share findings from the latest Prepped and Ready program at the Injury Free Coalition for Kids meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as the National Research Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention in Washington, D.C. The goal is to share findings and to continue to expand the program’s work, so making medications and firearms inaccessible to teens at home is the standard. Prepped and Ready’s evidence-based approach to helping families prevent such crises is on its way to boosting the number of families it can serve. As Sullivant noted after developing the program from working with families in crisis, many parents asked, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this sooner?”
“I’m so proud of the class for how to expand its reach as part of a marketing plan. It’s not only about thinking of which social media platform to use, but to put to work big ideas,” Hendershot said. “That’s our goal, to give our course clients things they can use tomorrow.”
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Contact: Laura Kingston, Center for Educational Opportunity Programs, 785-864-3415, [email protected], @CEOPmedia
KU resecures $7M in federal funding for Educational Opportunity Programs

LAWRENCE — The Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) has recently secured over $7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the University of Kansas can continue to help first-generation and low-income students not only reach college but also be successful once they get there.

Under the leadership of CEOP director Ngondi Kamaṱuka, the university received funding to continue four highly successful TRIO programs: KU TRIO Upward Bound, KU TRIO Talent Search and two KU TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers, which have decades-long legacies of supporting Kansans.
“A confluence of socioeconomic disadvantages works against these students and adults from first-generation and low-income backgrounds,” Kamaṱuka said. “But these TRIO programs provide the support systems that make positive differences and ultimately lead to success.”
KU TRIO Upward Bound
Providing academic support and pre-college experiences to help assure high school students have success in college is the goal of KU TRIO Upward Bound. The $2.3 million grant will allow KU TRIO Upward Bound to annually serve 94 students who attend Highland Park High School in Topeka and Free State High School in Lawrence as well as F.L. Schlagle and Wyandotte high schools in Kansas City, Kansas.
In addition to monthly advising sessions, workshops, and cultural and educational trips throughout the academic year, KU TRIO Upward Bound includes two summer programs that offer participants a chance to experience college life. Designed to strengthen participants’ academic skills, provide cultural enrichment and career exploration opportunities, students in grades nine through 11 can participate in the six-week Non-Bridge Summer Institute. For Upward Bound students who have completed high school, the program hosts a Bridge Summer Institute to improve college navigation skills and the opportunity to enroll in regular university classes taught by KU faculty.
KU TRIO Talent Search
KU TRIO Talent Search’s legacy of supporting thousands of Wyandotte County youth has been under the leadership of director Rebecca Dukstein since 1994. The most recent five-year award of $2.58 million will continue this legacy of serving over 900 middle and high school students annually.
Once in the program, KU TRIO Talent Search provides students with free opportunities and guidance to help them graduate from high school and enroll in an institution of higher education. The wide range of services includes academic and career-exploration workshops, college preparation sessions, family events, advising, college visits, assistance with college admissions and financial aid processes, and summer programming.
“TRIO programs are more than opening doors. The opportunities provided inspire participants to see how their dreams are truly achievable goals,” Dukstein said. “We help students and families navigate all paths towards success in higher education. Every day, we support students in becoming who they are meant to be, and that feels incredible.”
KU TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers
The university has received $2.38 million in funding for two KU TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) grants that will provide services across five counties: Douglas, Franklin, Leavenworth, Shawnee and Wyandotte. The primary objective of the grant is to provide support for adults 19 years of age and older who are seeking to further their education.
Specializing in assisting nontraditional students to navigate the process, together the two KU TRIO EOC programs serve 2,000 Kansans annually, including veterans, immigrants, former foster youth and more, who all aspire to be first-generation college students but need assistance overcoming barriers to education and financial success.
CEOP Legacy
KU is one of more than 1,000 higher education institutes that offer federally funded TRIO programs in the United States. Across five counties in northeastern Kansas, CEOP has long-standing and successful relationships with school districts and communities to implement seven different types of TRIO programs. KU’s legacy of successfully implementing educational equity programs is evident in the continued awarding of federally funded programs that have brought more than $100 million of external funding to the university.
“I want to make sure Kansans not only have access to high-quality higher education, but also find success,” Kamaṱuka said. “Access isn’t enough if students don’t also have support. We provide decades of evidence-based support that is personalized to the unique needs of today’s students. KU’s TRIO programs will help the university work toward that goal.”
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Contact: Jenny Durkin, KU Edwards, [email protected], @KUEdwardsCampus
KU announces online professional studies undergraduate programs for fall 2022

OVERLAND PARK — The University of Kansas is launching a new online bachelor’s degree program in professional studies for the 2022-2023 academic year, giving students with an associate degree or equivalent hours the chance to enter a growing and in-demand field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in management occupations is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030 and is expected to result in about 906,800 new jobs in a wide variety of sectors. Offered through KU’s School of Professional Studies, the online Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) program is designed with transfer students in mind and focuses on preparing students with professional and workforce-ready skills to ensure employment immediately following completion of the program.
Stuart Day, dean of KU Edwards Campus and School of Professional Studies, said this new program addresses a growing need in the Kansas City area and beyond.
“There are no other in-state options for students to pursue a BPS degree,” Day said. “The KU program is distinguished by its close connections with Lawrence and Edwards Campus academic programs, as well as community college partners like Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College. This bachelor’s program was designed with attention to the transfer students entering the program, and the preparation of students to acquire professional and workforce-ready skills leading to employment immediately following completion of the bachelor’s degree.”
The goal of a professional studies program is to prepare students with valued and relevant skills to help them achieve their desired career objectives. The curricular flexibility allows students to pursue a variety of professional paths and management opportunities after graduation. Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to succeed in courses relevant to their anticipated professions including project management, health care management and more.
“The curriculum for KU’s BPS program sets itself apart by giving students the opportunity to maximize the use of credit earned at other higher education institutions and offers a customizable, interdisciplinary and transfer-friendly curriculum that focuses on the professional management skills required across a wide range of career paths,” Day said.
The new online professional studies degree program, supported by the Johnson County Education Research Triangle (JCERT), aims to graduate professionals ready to fill in-demand jobs in the Kansas City area and beyond.

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Contact: Mindie Paget, Office of Research, 785-864-0013, [email protected], @ResearchAtKU
Engineering professor to join KU Research leadership team
LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas School of Engineering faculty member with a track record of helping colleagues build successful research programs is joining the Office of Research as associate vice chancellor.
Candan Tamerler, Charles E. & Mary Jane Spahr Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, will begin her duties July 10.
As a member of the senior leadership team, Tamerler will help oversee a number of areas that support the KU research mission, including research centers, core labs, strategic planning, research development, research administration, research compliance and related topics. Tamerler has served as associate dean for research in the engineering school since 2019.
“Candan is an active, accomplished faculty researcher with diverse experiences and sources of external funding. As someone who has earned support from federal agencies and industry partners, helped start companies and holds several patents, she brings a uniquely valuable perspective to helping grow and shape the KU research enterprise,” said Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research. “In her role as associate dean for research in engineering, she developed data-informed approaches to understanding and expanding the school’s research success. I look forward to working with her to support scholars across campus.”
Tamerler’s research focuses on engineering biomolecular systems for design, synthesis and biofabrication of functional materials and developing biobased approaches for health care and sustainable technology solutions. In the Office of Research, she will serve alongside two other associate vice chancellors as the institutional official for academic misconduct and will support five of KU’s designated research centers: the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum, the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, the Institute for Bioengineering Research, the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research and the Kansas Geological Survey.
Tamerler fills an Office of Research vacancy created by the departure of Belinda Sturm, professor of civil, environmental & architectural engineering, who stepped away from her associate vice chancellor role after three years of service to the KU research community to focus on directing the Kansas NSF EPSCoR and advancing her own research.
KU research addresses problems of worldwide significance, delivers solutions that make a difference to Kansas and the region, and promotes an inclusive community of responsible inquiry and innovation for students and scholars. The Office of Research facilitates that mission by advocating for research, scholarship and creative activity, implementing research integrity requirements and, through the KU Center for Research (KUCR), managing the administration of research grants and contracts. KU Research also has oversight of activities related to technology commercialization and business and industry outreach.

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