Skip to main content
Building Healthy Communities
Peabody’s CDA program has fully equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed to be a change agent.
Karah Palmer
Community Development and Action
M.Ed. '19
Research Coordinator at The National Center for School Mental Health
University of Maryland, School of Medicine

At the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), Karah is the Research Project Coordinator for the Kaiser Permanente Resilience in School Environments (KP RISE) Formative Evaluation. This nationwide standard includes measures of staff and student social and emotional health, school climate, and the extent to which school and district practices align with effective practices for trauma-informed care. Peabody’s CDA program has fully equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed to be a change agent. It has been exciting to put what I learned into practice and share tools for community engagement with others in my field. In January 2021, I completed University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Interprofessional Program for Academic Community Engagement (IPACE), as one of its inaugural fellows. As part of this IPACE fellowship, I was able to build on and leverage my CDA training to enhance my team’s understanding of Community-Based Participatory Action Research and culturally responsive practices. I also had the opportunity to facilitate a session for public-interest law students at UM Carey Law, which highlighted the connection among empathy, emotional resilience, and effective public service. The CDA program’s focus on participatory action and reflective practice has allowed me to be flexible and creative in my research, evaluation, and problem-solving efforts.

Peabody, and the CDA Program especially, provided the experience and skills necessary to build relationships and bridges with colleagues across my current institution. Because of CDA’s emphasis on balancing theory and practice, I am able to successfully navigate academic and community partnerships as a means to effect positive change in communal health and overall well-being.