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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Florida International Researchers Win Grant to Evaluate Transformative Miami Arts Program

FIU-BRIDGE (Banyan Research Institute on Dissemination, Grants and Evaluation) of Florida International University will conduct a comprehensive process and impact evaluation of the Dranoff 2 Piano Slam with a $160,000 grant from The Ware Foundation.

Piano Slam is a popular Miami-based community program integrating sound and language. Middle and high school students are encouraged to listen to a predetermined selection of music, compose poetry based on their reactions, and then compete for a spot in a public performance. In the past eight years, Piano Slam has grown 600 percent to influence 10,500 students and 750 teachers across nearly 70 Miami-Dade County schools on an annual basis. FIU-BRIDGE is jumping in to lead the program through a pivotal point in its organizational history.

FIU-BRIDGE project investigators — Dr. Michelle Hospital (associate director for research and development), Dr. Staci Morris (clinical director), and Dr. Eric Wagner (director), with support from FIU-BRIDGE community research coordinator Ms. Eva Wales — will identify Piano Slam’s successes and challenges, review its impact, and provide guidance to improve within the grant’s three-year period. Preliminary results may emerge as soon as the end of 2018.

The Ware Foundation is a longtime supporter of FIU-BRIDGE projects including an evaluation of the impact music education and training has on youth development via the Miami Music Project (MMP). This relevant experience, combined with a number of musicians on FIU-BRIDGE staff, made the FIU-BRIDGE team of researches the top choice for a university partner and grant recipient.

FIU-BRIDGE at the University’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work is a prevention research institute comprising multidisciplinary leaders who care deeply for underserved and at-risk populations. Their expertise covers clinical and developmental psychology, social work, dietetics and nutrition, and public health.