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Community involvement in research is key to translating science into practice, and new approaches to engaging community members in research design and implementation are needed. The Community Scientist Program, established at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in 2018 and expanded to two other Texas institutions in 2021, provides researchers with rapid feedback from community members on study feasibility and design, cultural appropriateness, participant recruitment, and research implementation. This paper aims to describe the Community Scientist Program and assess Community Scientists' and researchers' satisfaction with the program. We present the analysis of the data collected from 116 Community Scientists and 64 researchers who attended 100 feedback sessions, across three regions of Texas including Northeast Texas, Houston, and Rio Grande Valley between June 2018 and December 2022. Community Scientists stated that the feedback sessions increased their knowledge and changed their perception of research. All researchers (100%) were satisfied with the feedback and reported that it influenced their current and future research methods. Our evaluation demonstrates that the key features of the Community Scientist Program such as follow-up evaluations, effective bi-directional communication, and fair compensation transform how research is conducted and contribute to reducing health disparities.
In 1969, Robert E. Gregg collected five species of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in three Subarctic localities near the town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, which he documented in a 1972 publication in The Canadian Entomologist. To determine whether there have been any additions to the local fauna – as might be predicted to occur in response to a warming climate and increased traffic to the Port of Churchill in the intervening 40 years – we re-collected ants from the same localities in 2012. We identified the ants we collected from Gregg’s sampling sites using both traditional morphological preparations and DNA barcoding. In addition, we examined specimens from Gregg’s initial collection that are accessioned at the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, Illinois, United States of America). Using this integrative approach we report seven species present at the same sites Gregg sampled 40 years earlier. We conclude that the apparent increase is likely not due to any arrivals from more southerly distributed ants, but to the increased resolution provided by DNA barcodes to resident species complexes with a complicated history. We provide a brief synopsis of these results and their taxonomic context.
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