CHEEER Podcasts + Spotlights

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According to a recent New York Times article, more than half the people in the United States have listened to one podcast and nearly one out of three people listen to at least one podcast every month.” This media platform is growing tremendously! Here at the Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research, we decided that it was our turn to take the leap and join the digital podcast community.

Our current National Institutes of Health grant, “Involving Communities in Delivering and Disseminating Health Disparity Interventions”, allows us to reach out to varying partners to conduct research. However, we wanted to develop a podcast to bring those same communities members together to talk about the research.

CHEEER Healing the Gap Podcast Revamp

In an effort to always innovate we have updated our podcast! With a new name, new hosts, new topics but the same dedication of bringing together community members and researchers we’re “Healing the Gap” between these two groups.

Foster Care Challenges and Inequities | Healing the Gap | EP 11

Josh and Morgan chat with fellow CHEEER Researcher Quisha Marbury to discuss obstacles and issues foster care parents are facing, as well as gaps in the system that are leading to inequities in the well-being for the children involved.

To learn more about some of the topics discussed in this episode please check out the following articles:

Foster youth struggle when ‘aging out’ of the system; what help is available in Cuyahoga County?

Ohio desperately needs more foster parents for older children

Ohio’s Foster Care Crisis Forcing Hundreds of Kids to Sleep in Offices

Duke Psychiatry Program Expands Mental Health Support for Foster Children

Number of At-Risk Youth with Intellectual Disability and Autism in the U.S. Foster Care System is Growing

A Qualitative Approach to Gun Violence Survivors’ Research | Healing the Gap | EP 10

Morgan meets with Dr. Sarah Sweeney to discuss her newest Pilot Project – Centering Survivors and Families Project: A Qualitative, Community Participatory Pilot Project.
Dr. Sweeney is working with the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance and the MetroHealth Trauma Recovery Unit to interview people impacted by gun violence. Asking about their experiences with hospitals and emergency/rehab personnel. Asking about resources they used/needed and the type of support they need. Overall, trying understand the impact to their lives and community.

This project is collaboratively developed by Sarah Sweeney, Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance and the MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.’s Trauma Recovery Center, along with a community advisory board.

The project aims to
a.) Understand the range of impacts of gun violence on
firearm injury survivors and families and their experiences with healthcare, mental healthcare and community services
b.) Develop an initial framework for conducting research with this population that is sensitive to the needs of gun violence survivors and families

Learn more here.

Morgan meets with CHEEER Pilot Awardee Dr. Erika Kelley to discuss the background and progress of her current pilot project, Social Media as A Decision Aid To Improve Cancer Screening Among Transgender And Gender Diverse People. The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine the potential for social media as a shared decision aid to increase cancer screening among TGGD individuals. This study is a collaboration between clinicians, researchers, and community members at University Hospitals, Baldwin Wallace College, and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

Josh and Morgan close out 2023 with a review and recap of the past year since revamping and updating the podcast. Watch as they discuss favorite moments from this year’s episodes and ways they plan to improve the podcast in the upcoming year.

Morgan meets with Dr. Maeve MacMurdo to discuss agricultural workers exposure to air pollution, and how it pertains to her (MacMurdo’s) current CHEER Pilot Research Project with community partner HOLA Ohio. Additionally, they discuss the current poor air quality in Cleveland, what’s being done, and what still needs to happen to improve the situation.

Learn more about Dr. MacMurdo’s project:…

Community Journal Reviewer Gives Back | Healing the Gap | EP 6

In this episode Morgan chats with Ilona Perkins. Ilona formerly participated in one of our research studies as a Journal Reviewer and is currently a member of our Community Based Research Network. Learn how Ilona used her study compensation to revitalize unused land in her neighborhood and provide her community with more urban green space. Learn more about and read the full published article for the Community Journal Reviewers Study Ilona participated in here:…

Teacher and Student Reflections Hathaway Brown’s Aspire Program | Part II | Healing the Gap | EP 5

As parents, teachers, and students are gearing up to head back to school, those attending the Hathaway Brown Aspire program recently wrapped up their summer session. Morgan sat down with a Core Teacher and a graduating student to hear about their experiences this past summer. Topics discussed include insightful moments, the importance of Aspire, summer learning loss, and skills that can be used in future endeavors. Check out Part II of our coverage of the Aspire program that is helping to heal the gap in education by confronting issues like summer learning loss and the inequality of educational resources available.

Hathaway Brown’s Aspire + Education as a Social Driver of Health | Part I | Healing the Gap | EP 4

As a social driver of health, education can have a lasting impact on the health outcomes of children. Specifically, a lack of education and summer learning loss can be detrimental to students. Learn how Aspire, a summer enrichment and leadership program at Hathaway Brown, heals this gap in our latest podcast episode. We met with Aspire co-founder Koyen Shaw to discuss the past, present, and future of the program and how they assist girls who are limited in opportunity because of low family income and lack of exposure to higher education.

Visit Aspire’s site:

Follow Aspire on social media:

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AAPI Month + Midstory | Healing the Gap | EP 3

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Josh and Morgan sit down with Ruth Chang of Midstory, an educational media organization. In this episode they discuss the intersection of Asian identity and the Midwest, maintaining cultural roots in America, and the culinary culture of Asian cuisine. Check out Midstory’s


Midstory’s Site:

Articles Featured in the Episode:

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) | Healing the Gap | EP 2

RECORDED on 11/21/2022
Josh sits down with Carey Gibbons from the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH). Carey is the Queer Youth Outreach and Engagement Manager at NEOCH as well as the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland’s 2022 Heritage Day Award Winner for Public Service. They discuss NEOCH’s mission, the award, various shelter options to aid the Cleveland homeless population during the cold winter months, as well obstructive policies that may hinder helping the homeless.

NEOCH’s Site –
NEOCH’s Pride Drive Page –
LGBT Community Center Heritage Day Award Page –

Berkshire Doula Project | Healing the Gap | EP 1 | Roe v. Wade Special

The Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research first episode of our revamped podcast. With the overturn of Roe V Wade and its impact on women’s reproductive rights, we wanted to use this platform to hear from experts in the field and gain their perspective on the matter. Additionally, we wanted to increase everyone’s knowledge on women’s reproductive health and options available. For this episode we met with Gates Tenerowicz, a student leader of the Berkshire Doula Project, to learn more about what they do and how they’re reacting to the recent news.

Community Spotlight Ep. 13

The Case Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research would like to highlight organizations and initiatives that have been working hard before and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that some of our most vulnerable community members have the basic needs and resources to take care of themselves and their families. While no one organization can do it alone, the web of support available to community members needs to be highlighted.

Episode 13: Asian Services in Action (ASIA Inc.)



Erika chats with Asian Services In Action’s (ASIA) CEO, Elaine Tso, and learns how this great organization has kept up its mission of serving the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of Northeast Ohio amidst the pandemic. In addition, they’ll address how the organization has navigated themselves and supported they’re community through the recent uptick of racial aggression towards the AAPI community caused by COVID-19. “ASIA runs two federally qualified health centers —one in Cleveland and one in Akron—that specialize in linguistically and culturally competent care for immigrants and refugees. ASIA also provides all of the wrap around social services for this community to thrive in Northeast Ohio.”

Donate to ASIA

Volunteer for ASIA

Community Spotlight Ep. 12

Episode 12: Greater Cleveland Food Bank


For over 40 years the Greater Cleveland Foodbank has been a staple organization tasked with addressing food insecurity across 6 counties in Ohio. In 2020, the Foodbank served over 400,000 individuals, tailoring its distribution and direct services during a pandemic to meet the needs of children, seniors, and families. Listen as Erika sits down with Chief Programming Officer, Jessica Morgan to hear more about the wonderful work this organization is doing.

To donate to the Foodbank or to volunteer, visit: Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Community Spotlight Ep. 11

Episode 11: Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH)


Our friend Carey Gibbons from the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless joins Erika for her latest spotlight. Tune in to hear how this awesome organization is focused on helping residents find housing and stability.

Learn more about NEOCH

Community Spotlight Ep. 10

Episode 10: FrontLine Service


Erika sits down with Kim Kylie, Rosemary Creeden, and Aaron Rentrope from FrontLine Service to discuss how they delivered critical support to those in need during the pandemic.

Community Spotlight Ep. 9

Episode 9: Neighborhood Connections + Food Access Raises Everyone (FARE) Project


Check out our latest Community Spotlight! Our guests Kaela Geschke, Community Network Manager with Neighborhood Connections and Morgan Taggert, Director of the FARE Project (Food Access Raises Everyone) share how their community work has been impacted by COVID-19 and how they have overcome many challenges during the pandemic.

Community Spotlight Ep. 8

Episode 8: Susan G. Komen | Northeast Ohio


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month created to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. Watch our most recent Community Spotlight as Erika sits down with Sean Shacklett and Gina Chicotel from Susan G. Komen: Northeast Ohio.

Community Spotlight Ep. 7

Episode 7: Faith Based Outreach | MetroHealth


Erika sits down with Tony Minor the Manager of Faith Based Outreach to discuss how MetroHealth’s Faith-based team has shifted gears to meet the needs of the community in the midst of a health pandemic and heated racial tension. Check the interview out!

“As the manager of Faith-Based Outreach, Tony oversees the Office of Pastoral Care. He develops, cultivates and manages a community-wide network of faith-based organizations to collaboratively improve the health of community members. He assists faith-based organizations to build capacity and leadership, while focusing on low-income and underserved populations. He has devoted more than 25 years to providing training and services to the faith community and non-profit organizations serving these populations.”

Community Spotlight Ep. 6

Episode 6: Massage Northern Ohio-Practice Based Network (MNO-PBRN)


Today, Erika Hood has a chat with Diane Mastnardo the founding director of Massage Northern Ohio-Practice Based Network (MNO-PBRN). Diane was also part of the second cohort of CRSI scholars. The MNO-PBRN’s mission is to improve access to Massage Therapy, conduct research on massage efficacy, and to educate the public, healthcare providers, and policy makers about massage therapy. They are a registered Practice-Based Research Network with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Watch the video to learn more about their activities during quarantine and visit their site here.

Community Spotlight Ep. 5

Episode 5: Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI)


Today’s highlight will focus on Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI). Erika sits down with Kevin McDaniel (Executive Director), Michelle Broome (Manager of Community Education), Nyla Muhammad (Neighborhood Navigation Liaison), and Marie Jones (Director of Community Health Initiatives). . Neighborhood Leadership Institute exists to develop grassroots leaders who help rebuild the bonds of community and improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents throughout Greater Cleveland. Watch the video to learn more about NLI’s COVID-19 quarantine activities and visit their site here.

Community Spotlight Ep. 4

Episode 4: LGBT Community Center of Cleveland


Today’s highlight will focus on an amazing anchor institution in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway, the LGBT Community Center of Cleveland. Erika chats with Director of Programs, Gulnar Feerasta! Check it out!

Community Spotlight Ep. 3

Episode 3: University Settlement


CHEEER Would like to highlight organizations and initiatives that have been working hard before and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. While no one organization can do it alone, the web of support available to community members needs to be highlighted. Today, we highlight the amazing work of the University Settlement. Executive Director Earl Pike chats with Erika! Take a look!

Community Spotlight Ep. 2

Episode 2: MetroHealth’s Institute for Hope


Today, we want to highlight the amazing work of the MetroHealth’s Institute for Hope. The Institute’s Director of Healthy Families and Thriving Communities, Karen Cook, sits down with CHEEER Program Development Manager, Erika Hood to talk about the work that the Institute is doing to support our community members and address social determinants of health, in the midst of this health crisis. If you would like more information on resources available to the community, please visit

Community Spotlight Ep. 1

Episode 1: West Side Community House


Today, we want to highlight the amazing work of the West Side Community House. Executive Director Rachelle Milner, sits down with CHEEER Program Development Manager, Erika Hood to talk about the work that WSCH is doing to stay committed to residents during this time. Please reach out to WSCH at (216) 771-7297, if you would like to volunteer or donate!


Point-Blank Archive

The goal of the “Point-Blank” podcast was to engage clinicians, researchers, and community members around a variety of topics to share their combined expertise.

Hosts: Erika Hood and Maria Figueroa



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