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Expanding Dr. Brandow’s Work: Co-producing Tools for Healing

From July 2021 – June 2022, Dr. Crystal L. Brandow (PI) and Dr. Peggy Swarbrick (Co-I) led a study to co-produce a draft well-being model for young Black adults as part of the Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies WinR Program. After the publication of this model, Dr. Swarbrick secured funding from the Wellness Self-Care Program, to operationalize the model and co-create a workbook for young Black adults who are interested in exploring what well-being means to them, assess their well-being across nine domains, and make a plan for enhancing well-being. The nine well-being domains are: community + connection, creativity, culture, health, money, purpose, self-empowerment, sexuality, and spirituality.

From October 2023 – February 2024, Dr. Crystal L. Brandow led the development of this workbook, engaging with key informants who were involved in the original 2021-2022 project. The key informants are Black people with lived experience with behavioral health systems. Hakim Asadi, LMSW, who served as a key informant in the original project, served a different role in this next phase of the project, and co-developed the workbook content with Dr. Brandow. Alexander Gamble, MA, CMPC, a behavioral health clinician at Rutgers Athletics and a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, joined the key informants as a new contributor to this project. Jade Warrick, who designed the original graphic depiction of the model, created the workbook layout using input and feedback from the key informant group.

The Black Well-Being Project is grounded in principles of co-production. While the model and workbook are designed to guide individual well-being reflection, they acknowledge the impact of historical, structural, systemic, interpersonal, and internalized racism on well-being. The model co-creators understand that the personal well-being of people who are oppressed and marginalized by current systems may be influenced by these systems. Still, we all have strengths that can be leveraged to support overall health, wellness, and well-being.

The workbook will be piloted, and then made available on Crystal Brandow and Hakim Asadi’s websites. CAS will distribute via the CAS News after the pilot period.

Workbook citation:

Brandow, C.L., Asadi, H., Gamble, A., Brice, G.H., Pitts, S., Wilson, I., Myrick, K., Warrick, J., and Swarbrick, M. (2024, February). Black brilliance: Navigating well-being with purpose. Piscataway, New Jersey: Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University