STRATEGIES TO INCREASE UTILIZATION OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT’S ONLINE REPORTING SYSTEM
The Office of the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island includes a Research and Development team that provides research, analysis, and recommendations to support and implement policies and program initiatives across city departments. The Office of the Mayor engaged a Capstone team to develop a strategic plan to increase resident utilization of Providence Police Department’s online system for non-emergency calls for service. The team conducted a literature review, stakeholder interviews and focus groups, and a survey of Providence residents to determine best practices and key features of online reporting systems. Having identified perceived barriers to online reporting, the team developed persuasive messaging about the reporting system to encourage its utilization. The team’s final report includes recommendations to improve the accessibility of the online system and guidance on public education and outreach strategies to support increased use of the system.
EXPANDING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Citizens Committee for Children of New York (CCCNY) is a New York City-based nonprofit that advocates for policies that enhance the lives of young people. CCCNY enlisted a team to develop strategies to enhance its civic engagement techniques, widen the reach of its impact, and inform the development of an online advocacy hub. The team conducted a literature review to research best engagement practices, including digital usage, and performed a field scan to gain insight into the current civic engagement landscape. The team provided CCCNY with a final report that includes recommendations on techniques for overall and online civic engagement, as well as sample systems and content to guide CCCNY in the launch of its advocacy hub.
ADVANCING STRATEGIC EXPANSION EFFORTS TO EMPOWER LOW-INCOME WOMEN IN THE NORTHERN TRIANGLE
Pro Mujer is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides access to financial and digital inclusion, healthcare services, and entrepreneurship support to empower low-income women and promote gender equality in Latin America. As part of its commitment to the Partnership for Central America—an initiative launched by US Vice President Kamala Harris to address the root causes of irregular migration from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador)—Pro Mujer is developing a series of financing vehicles and projects to expand into these three countries. The organization engaged the Capstone team to conduct initial scoping and market mapping to inform such expansion efforts. The team reviewed the literature on impact investing strategies; researched the social, economic, and political contexts of the Northern Triangle; and developed market intelligence on Pro Mujer’s programmatic offerings in each country. The team also identified potential partnership opportunities with donors, investors, and in-country organizations to facilitate Pro Mujer’s entry and strategic growth in the region.
REDESIGNING THE ONBOARDING PROCESS FOR NEW PHYSICIANS
Mount Sinai Doctors Faculty Practice (MSDFP) is a multispecialty group of more than 2,000 physicians integrated within the Mount Sinai Health System. The current onboarding process can be unmanageable for administrators and confusing to doctors, and can lead to dissatisfaction and high turnover. MSDFP engaged a Capstone team to investigate and analyze the onboarding process for new physicians. The team analyzed current literature, constructed a process map from the physician’s perspective, and interviewed administrators from different hospital systems across the nation. The team produced a final report outlining best practices and recommendations to improve MSDFP’s onboarding processes for short-term and long-term success.
STRENGTHENING THE FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY OF HOSPITAL-BASED VIOLENCE INTERRUPTION PROGRAMS
The Violence Prevention Initiative of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) oversees NYC’s Hospital-Based Violence Interruption Programs (HVIPs). While HVIPs are an essential component of NYC’s public health-based violence prevention strategy, they are deeply underfunded and struggle with sustainability. DOHMH enlisted a Capstone team to identify ways to strengthen city-wide HVIPs with a special focus on sustainable financing. The team conducted an analysis of public datasets to explore violence at the national, state, and city levels and to better understand NYC rates of violence relative to other localities. The team completed further research and structured stakeholder interviews, and developed a database of national HVIPs. The final report includes an advocacy policy brief based on the team’s findings and sustainability recommendations, including ways to use Medicaid as a vehicle to reimburse NYC HVIPs.
EXPLORING THE CURRENT STATE OF DIVERSITY IN HEALTHCARE
Many healthcare organizations are working to improve their diversity efforts and outcomes, but ensuring that best practices are effective and sustainable has proven difficult. Many healthcare organizations have adopted DEI initiatives, but is this truly leading to a paradigm shift in diversity management? With an aging American demographic and an increasingly diverse population, it is crucial to prioritize culturally competent strategies in cultivating a more equitable system for both patients and practitioners. The team undertook a literature review that outlined the current state of diversity in healthcare in the following categories: care, educational opportunity, cultural competency, executive-level involvement, and best practices. The team recommended making efforts to increase accessibility to healthcare education in minority communities and honoring these communities through appropriate cultural competency.
CRAWFORD PARK IMPROVEMENTS
Town of Rye is located in Westchester County and comprises the Villages of Port Chester, Rye Brook, and the Rye Neck section of the Village of Mamaroneck. The Town’s administration commissioned the Capstone team to offer a set of recommendations for the enhancement of Crawford Park as a public and social good to the entire Town of Rye community. To help Crawford Park better serve the Town’s diverse community, the team explored affordability models, inclusive programming, and age-appropriate active and passive uses. Based on feedback collected from community members through digital surveys and focus groups, the team produced a final report outlining recommendations that inform future funding and planning efforts for Crawford Park.
STRENGTHENING PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY FOR DIVERSITY IN US GOVERNMENT
Inclusive America (IA) is a nonprofit organization committed to making the government as diverse as the people of the United States. It advances its mission by tracking the demographic information of all political appointments, informing government hiring managers, developing diverse candidate rosters, and supporting policies that increase public sector diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). IA engaged a Capstone team to evaluate accountability mechanisms that encourage DEIA within US executive agencies and make recommendations to strengthen their impact, focusing particularly on the Government Accountability Office. The team conducted a literature review and interviewed various academics, audit practitioners, and government officials. Based on its research, the team devised recommendations that include updating criteria for DEIA reviews, prioritizing an intersectional approach, and elevating performance management for inclusion and equity. The team’s final report outlines an evidence-based strategy that civil society organizations like IA can use to advocate for implementation of the proposed improvements.
REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE WITH A COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION PROGRAM
Trenton, New Jersey has faced a major uptick in gun violence in recent years, particularly among the city’s youth, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the social, economic, and health issues behind it. The Trenton Mayor’s Office engaged a Capstone team to create a strategy to combat the city’s rise in gun violence by rehabilitating blighted areas. The team analyzed data provided by the city to identify the most crime-ridden areas in Trenton, researched news stories, journal articles, and demographic data, and conducted comprehensive interviews with a variety of stakeholders, including local high school students. The team’s findings included root causes of gun violence, youth needs, and existing intervention mechanisms, and led the team to focus its recommendations on redeveloping vacant buildings and transforming them into useful spaces that fulfill community needs. The team’s final report proposes a program that would engage community members, especially youth, in the demolition, rehabilitation, and installation of new buildings.
EVALUATING PROGRAM SUPPORT FOR BIPOC SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
For over 35 years, Echoing Green has been building a dynamic ecosystem to support and invest in emerging social entrepreneurs who work at the intersection of global justice, racial equity, and social innovation. In 2020, Echoing Green launched a $50 million Racial Equity Philanthropic Fund and a new Fellow support program to provide equitable and sustainable support to its community of nearly 1,000 Fellows. The organization tasked the Capstone team with developing an evaluation model for its new program structure to determine effectiveness and areas for improvement. The team researched the best ways to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) social entrepreneurs and leaders on a global scale and studied the tools and support mechanisms that are most effective in community building across sectors, geographies, and identities. The team developed an assessment tool to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the impact of the new program structure and its support offerings. The team produced a final report with recommendations for the future of Echoing Green’s engagement model.
ADDRESSING FOOD WASTE AT LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS
The goal of Veggie Fruitful is to minimize the amount of leafy greens and tomatoes that farmers harvest and take to local markets but cannot sell due to their short life span. To understand the market, the Capstone team identified farmers in New York who employ organic practices and conducted a series of interviews with customers as well as executives at GrowNYC, a sustainability organization. Finding that leafy greens and tomatoes are sensitive to weather fluctuation, the team recommended an affordable, lightweight storage device that takes up unused space under the market table and does not require energy. This device can be designed to regulate produce temperature to prolong produce life span at both farm and market stages, especially during extreme heat and harsh winters. The team’s solution can help local, organic farmers grow more crops, yield more sales, and reduce food waste.