Matt Schorr
June 25, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Academic Medicine, the official peer-reviewed journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, recently published an innovation report on the Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core’s (CERC) Community Engagement Studios (CE Studios).

Click here to view the publication online.

CERC began testing new approaches for community engagement in 2009, which led to the CE Studio’s development. According to the published report, the program “facilitates project-specific input from community and patient stakeholders to enhance research design, implementation and dissemination.” CERC uses a team approach to recruit and train stakeholders, prepare researchers to engage those stakeholders and facilitate an in-person meeting with both.

Yvonne Joosten, MPH, the first author of the study, said, “With the help of our community partners, we've developed what I think is a great process for obtaining project-specific input from patients and other stakeholders. The CE Studio has proven to be an effective way to engage the community in all phases of translational research.”

Gordon R. Bernard, MD, Vanderbilt’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, also weighed in: “The CE Studios have been a tremendous asset to the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR). We have a structured way for investigators to get much-needed input from community members and patients to inform their research, building trust right from the start.”

To date, CERC has implemented 43 CE Studios that engaged 238 community stakeholders. Rev. Neely Williams, a co-author of the report and a member of the VICTR Community Advisory Council notes, “The CE Studio presents a unique opportunity to tap into the wisdom of community members. It is a process that empowers community members to contribute to the process of research in ways we have not seen before.  We have only begun to see the benefits to both researchers and the community.” 

Earlier in June, researchers and administrators from the University of Utah and George Washington University were given the opportunity to see the CE Studio in action thanks to an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Champion Award. During a mock studio presentation, participants voiced concerns related to their community and social justice. Joosten told the visiting peers that community research participants often want to know who will benefit from their contributions.

Click here to read about that visit.

Regarding the study’s publication in Academic Medicine, Joosten said, “We are grateful to have this opportunity to share the model with researchers at other academic institutions.”

Click here for the Community Engagement Studio Toolkit.

 

About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance is proud to celebrate 15 years of bridging institutions and communities. The Alliance's mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University and the communities they serve.

 

About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core brings academic and community partners together to improve health and health care through research. CERC provides support and consultation, education, information, small grants, and other resources needed to advance innovative community and patient engaged research. Established in 2007 to support both VICTR and the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC), CERC consists of a diverse team of faculty and staff with considerable experience working in communities, and a Community Advisory Council with representatives from community health centers, public health, non-profit service providers, faith-based organizations, and grassroots community coalitions.

 

About Meharry Medical College

Founded in 1876, Meharry Medical College is a United Methodist related institution that has long been recognized as one of the finest institutions for medical, dental and biomedical science education in the nation. For nearly 140 years, Meharry alumni, students, staff and faculty have fulfilled and continue to live the college’s mission of educating health care providers and researchers to serve the underserved. 

 

About Vanderbilt University

The mission of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is to improve human health. It graduated its first class in 1875 and is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. It is ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News and World Report, and ranks in the top 10 American medical schools in the receipt of National Institutes of Health funding. The school seeks the best and brightest students and provides them with a foundation in the basic and clinical sciences that enables them to become leaders and scholars. The dedicated faculty works closely with each student in a supportive environment that encourages creative thinking and diversity.