Innovation at OhioGuidestone

OhioGuidestone is on the cutting edge of mental health. Each day we use innovation, applied science, and community-based research to enhance lives and build better opportunities among and beyond the communities we serve. Each day, our innovative practices are evident in our programs throughout the state, as well as within our Institute of Family & Community Impact™ and research activities.

We turn our innovative models, trainings and research into products, services, and advocacy efforts for health professionals, educators, policymakers, philanthropists, community leaders, and families. By translating science to practical program applications, we expand the pathways for success for the thousands of individuals, families, and communities we serve.

The Institute of Family & Community Impact™

The Institute of Family & Community Impact™ is OhioGuidestone’s center of excellence for research, clinical innovation and training, and advocacy. The Institute of Family & Community Impact™ serves as a source of expert information and resources on many topics in the field of behavioral health and wellness- especially early childhood development, complex trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and family systems.

We expand the pathways of success for the thousands of individuals, families and communities we serve, as well as further advance the field of mental health by translating applied clinical sciences into practical program applications for healthcare, education, prevention, and policymakers.

To learn more about the Institute of Family & Community Impact™ (e.g. speaking or training engagements, innovative products) visit or email

Research at OhioGuidestone

Much of the research at OhioGuidestone takes place at The Institute of Family & Community Impact™. Our goal is to achieve better outcomes for the children, families, and communities we serve by examining clinical practices and validating evidence-based and informed interventions in the field of mental health. We use results of our research to evaluate programs, provide clinical trainings and products for mental health professionals, advocate for better policies, and provide general knowledge through published media.

What is research?

OhioGuidestone defines research as activities involving scientific investigation or experimentation through direct contact or interaction with persons at OhioGuidestone or our surrounding communities.

Why does OhioGuidestone do research?

Our goals are to advance the mental health field through empirical examination of clinical practices, and validation of evidence-based and informed interventions to leverage better outcomes for children, families and communities. Our research revolves around examining interventions, and clarifying determinants of overall mental health and wellness in children, families, and communities.

What type of research does OhioGuidestone do?

We focus on research that can be applied directly to the work that mental health and family professionals do, as well as applied directly to families’ everyday lives. Our research approaches include randomized control trials, validation studies and secondary data analysis. We use quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods across our research studies.

What does OhioGuidestone do with research outcomes?

We use study outcomes to improve our internal programs, learn how our programs are doing, contribute to clinical trainings and continuing professional development, create new products and innovations, advocate for better policies, and contribute to general knowledge about mental health and wellness through publications, newsletters, our websites and even social media.

Does OhioGuidestone follow rules for research?

We pride ourselves on designing and conducting research with measures of high ethical and data integrity. OhioGuidestone has a research ethics group called the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB reviews all research activity in accords with local and federal regulations around research involving people.

The IRB reviews the risks and benefits of all research activities to make sure we are safe, and conducting minimal risk research. Minimal risk research at OhioGuidestone means research studies include activities that are common in daily life, or in normal medical or healthcare appointments for physical or mental health. Risks and benefits of all research activities are also reviewed and approved by the IRB. IRB members, researchers, and all staff involved in research activities have to complete required research ethics trainings to ensure our research activities are safe, equitable and minimize risk to participants.

For more information about OhioGuidestone’s IRB, or to submit a study for IRB review, please email

How can I do research at OhioGuidestone?

All research activities conducted at OhioGuidestone must be approved. This includes advertising or recruiting for research studies among OhioGuidestone personnel or clients, participating in external research studies with other organizations, or evaluation activities that will be publicly disseminated.

For more information on conducting research at OhioGuidestone, please email and review our policies and procedures.

What is so different about research at OhioGuidestone?

Our research goals are to improve health and increase health equity. Mental illness can affect everyone regardless of one’s identity or background, but sometimes general research does not address these differences for different cultures, identities, or backgrounds – and can miss on opportunities to improve health outcomes for even more people.

This is why we intentionally include diverse communities to improve representation of all people in mental health research. At times, we have a very specific focus on specific cultures, backgrounds, or experiences in some research studies, as there is a need to better understand biological, psychological, social, or socioeconomic determinants of health.

Research and innovation at OhioGuidestone are also different because we do not do research ‘on’ people, but rather ‘with’ people. As we seek to understand and improve mental health and healthcare, we want to make sure individuals, families, and communities get to contribute more than survey answers. Research participants also share their stories, opinions, recommendations, and feedback through collaboration at different stages of our research and innovation efforts.

Research at OhioGuidestone is not only shared in special research journals. We share our results with research participants, professionals, and the general public so that everyone can benefit from what we are learning through research. We take great pride in making sure we reflect and represent our individuals, families and communities with respect.

What is OhioGuidestone currently researching?

OhioGuidestone currently has open studies focused on integrated mental and physical health, adverse childhood experiences, and maternal and paternal perinatal mental health.

Innovators, program leaders, researchers, and students looking to partner on research efforts with OhioGuidestone should contact the Assistant Vice President, Applied Clinical Sciences and Research, Brittany Pope. Email Brittany at or call 440.260.8865.

For those interested in participating in our research activities, please contact

Our Current Studies:

  • Father’s Feelings Project
    For fathers with a baby on the way or between 0-12 months. Currently serving fathers in Cuyahoga and Stark Counties.
  • Joyful Together™
    For families with children 3 months-10 years old looking to add more joyful play, lower stress, and strengthen relationships.
  • Joyful Together™ Early Care and Education
    For early care and education (ECE) sites looking to implement innovative early development models in the classroom setting.
  • Maternal Vitality Project
    For Black or African American women with a baby on the way or up to 12 months after pregnancy. Currently serving mothers in greater Cleveland.

Who currently sponsors and partners with OhioGuidestone researchers?

OhioGuidestone is grateful for the support, sponsorship and collaboration with: