Newest research institute tackles mental health, wellness through integration of science, community | CU Boulder Today

Photos by Glenn Asakawa/CU Boulder

The Crown Institute focuses on interdisciplinary research-practice partnerships that promote the wellness of young people and the systems and adults who support them. Key areas of interest include the study of mindfulness, compassion, belonging and agency. Research programs also address disparities in mental health, wellness and education associated with gender, race, ethnicity, linguistic diversity, geography, income, and other structural and systemic inequities.

As one example of Crown’s work, the Mindful Campus Program began in 2019 with students’ helping to craft surveys and focus groups to gauge their peers’ interest and preferences, asking various questions, such as how the campus could minimize barriers to mindfulness programming.

The institute is unique in that it takes the approach of research-practice partnerships, in which researchers, families, teachers, young people and community members work together as equal partners.

Early Crown Institute studies build on a foundation of collaboration with the Boulder Valley and Roaring Fork school districts, community partners including El Centro AMISTAD and Valley Settlement, and faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education.

This year, the Crown Institute is also launching more outreach and education efforts, and actively focusing on ways it can bring the learning, programming and practices from research studies into the world. Those include the interdisciplinary design and delivery of courses and programs on campus as well as public-facing speakers and events.

“The Crown Institute is dedicated to building a world where every young person thrives,” said Sona Dimidjian, the institute’s director. “That means being supported by both caring relationships and inner resources. It also means doing work that’s focused not only on the mental health and wellness of children and young people, but also on the adults and systems in their lives.”


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