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Developing and piloting a community scientist academy to engage communities and patients in research

  • M. Kathryn Stewart (a1) (a2), Nicola Spencer (a1), Anna H. Davis (a1) (a2) (a3), Camille Hart (a1) and Beatrice Boateng (a1) (a4)...

Abstract

Introduction

Effective translational research requires engagement and collaboration between communities, researchers, and practitioners. We describe a community scientist academy (CSA) developed at the suggestion of our Clinical and Translational Science Awards’ (CTSA) community advisory board to engage and capacitate community members by (1) increasing community members’ and patients’ understanding about the research process and (2) increasing their access to opportunities to influence and participate in research. A joint CTSA/community planning committee developed this 8-hour workshop including sessions on: (1) research definitions and processes; (2) study design; (3) study implementation; and (4) ways to get involved in research. The workshop format includes interactive exercises, content slides and videos, and researcher and community presenters.

Methods

Community-based information sessions allowed assessment of community interest before piloting. Two pilots of the CSA were conducted with community members and patients. Participant data and a pre/post knowledge and feedback survey provide evaluation data.

Results

The pilot included 24 diverse participants, over half of whom had not previously participated in research. Evaluation data suggest knowledge gains. Post-CSA, one-third have reviewed CTSA pilot grants and over 80% want to attend further training.

Conclusions

The CSA can demystify the research process for those underrepresented in research and facilitate their engagement and influence within CTSAs.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: M. Kathryn Stewart, Department of Health Policy and Management, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham St., Slot 820, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA. (Email: stewartmaryk@uams.edu)

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