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An experienced leader and partner in conducting community-based research projects, Special Service for Groups takes pride in our ability to provide expert data analysis and research on issues that impact our collective communities. We advance the fields of social work and behavioral health while investing in evidence-based models and practices to improve programming for the diverse ethnic communities. It is our goal to use this invaluable data to identify social gaps while simultaneously affecting decision-making and driving change.

Multiple divisions participate in data collection and analysis to the extent that such activity relates to their respective missions. However, Special Service for Groups also houses a specialized division for conducting community assessment and program evaluation. Our Research & Evaluation Unit has expertise in providing capacity building and technical assistance services to community-based organizations, hospitals/clinics, and grantmakers.

Below is a sampling of recent publications to which Special Service for Groups contributed.

Policy Reports


Unsheltered. An examination of community-level economic, demographic and social indicators to help explain why Service Planning Area (SPA) 6 has the highest concentration of homeless persons outside of Downtown LA. The policy report highlights a homeless population that has received little attention amid the media and policy debates surrounding homelessness in Skid Row and Downtown, and shows that homeless service providers in South LA receive disproportionately less funding than providers in other areas.

Collaborative Research Highlights


Technical Assistance in The Building Healthy Communities Initiative: Reflections and Findings. An assessment of how technical assistance (TA) is provided within The California Endowment’s Building Health Communities (BHC) initiative. This report discusses innovative approaches to provision of technical assistance in place based work, including the use of TA to enhance community capacity for building power and scaling local practitioners to become TA providers. It also highlights emerging practices for technical assistance providers and foundations working in social justice and community change efforts, such as the importance of due diligence, specific attributes of TA providers that enhance impact and flexible work plans that are responsive to local needs.


Chieh Mei Ching Yi: A randomized controlled trial of a culturally tailored HIV prevention intervention for Chinese massage parlor women in Los Angeles. AIDS Education and Prevention, 25(6), 508-518. Aimed to identify the effectiveness of an adaptation of the evidence based intervention SISTA or Sisters Informing Sisters on the Topic of AIDS.  The study targeted monolingual Chinese women who work at massage parlors and engage in sexual activity.  Using interviews, and a pilot study of differing versions of adapted delivery and curriculum based on SISTA, we found that (1) immigrant women have very low levels of HIV knowledge, (2) they are relatively unfamiliar with proper condom use, and (3) women have very high levels of fear regarding reporting of high risk sexual behavior (many have been arrested on suspicion of prostitution while working at massage parlors).


Creating A Healthy Space for Healing: A Community-Engaged Assessment for the Fremont High School Wellness Center and Community Garden. A community-engaged assessment for the development of a school-based clinic and community garden at Fremont High School. In collaboration with the UMMA Community Clinic, the LA Neighborhood Land Trust, and LAUSD, the Research & Evaluation (R&E) team trained students and community members to conduct a research project that included surveys, focus groups, and site visit observations. These community researchers developed both operational and programmatic recommendations based on research data and continue to provide input to the development of the school-based clinic and community garden. (January 2012)

Asian HIV-Hepatitis Co-infection Study. Research that aimed to 1) estimate the size of the API population living with both HIV and viral hepatitis; (2) identify the reasons why medical and social service providers face challenges in serving APIs living with both HIV and viral hepatitis; and (3) create a partnership among medical and social service providers to better meet the needs of APIs living with both HIV and viral hepatitis. Produced in partnership with the UCLA School of Public Affairs.


Understanding a Pacific Islander Young Adult Perspective on Access to Higher Education. A local Southern California assessment of PI young adults regarding educational access barriers. This report examines how these barriers impact efforts to address health disparities and looks at opportunities for health and health-related professionals to reduce and care for the high burden of illnesses and diseases in PI communities.

Men of Asia Testing for HIV (MATH) Study. American Journal of Public Health. Served as the Los Angeles community-based research partner on the conducted by Georgetown University. (June 10, 2010)

UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs Partnership. A project evaluating integrated substance abuse and mental health treatment interventions for homeless adults with co-occurring disorders.


Culturally Competent Practice With Cambodian and Korean Families in Los  Angeles: Results From a 5-Year Replication Project of Family Connections. Protecting Children: A Professional Publication of American Humane. Results from a project to prevent child abuse with Cambodian and Korean Families in Los Angeles. Produced in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Social Work.