Community Engagement Practices at Research Centers in U.S. Minority Institutions: Priority Populations and Innovative Approaches to Advancing Health Disparities Research




Henry Akintobi, Tabia
Sheikhattari, Payam
Shaffer, Emma
Evans, Christina L.
Braun, Kathryn L.
Sy, Angela U.
Mancera, Bibiana
Campa, Adriana
Miller, Stephania T.
Sarpong, Daniel

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This paper details U.S. Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Community Engagement Cores (CECs): (1) unique and cross-cutting components, focus areas, specific aims, and target populations; and (2) approaches utilized to build or sustain trust towards community participation in research. A mixed-method data collection approach was employed for this cross-sectional study of current or previously funded RCMIs. A total of 18 of the 25 institutions spanning 13 U.S. states and territories participated. CEC specific aims were to support community engaged research (94%); to translate and disseminate research findings (88%); to develop partnerships (82%); and to build capacity around community research (71%). Four open-ended questions, qualitative analysis, and comparison of the categories led to the emergence of two supporting themes: (1) establishing trust between the community-academic collaborators and within the community and (2) building collaborative relationships. An overarching theme, building community together through trust and meaningful collaborations, emerged from the supporting themes and subthemes. The RCMI institutions and their CECs serve as models to circumvent the historical and current challenges to research in communities disproportionately affected by health disparities. Lessons learned from these cores may help other institutions who want to build community trust in and capacities for research that addresses community-related health concerns.



community-engaged research, translation, best practices, research centers in minority institutions, lessons learned


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18 (12): 6675 (2021)


Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology