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Community Engagement Consults (for Investigators)

The CTSI-CN promotes community engagement in research by building long-term, bi-directional partnerships with clinical and community organizations in the Washington, DC, area. We help investigators use principles and methods of community engagement in their clinical and translational research. We ensure that the voice of local communities is part of the research process, building trust and lasting relationships that lead to sustainable changes in community health.

The CTSI-CN Community Advisory Board (CAB), part of the Community Engagement (CE) Module, is available to consult with investigators at Children’s National and George Washington on a number of areas related to their research. This program is free to investigators, and CAB members are compensated for their time and expertise.

The CTSI-CN CAB is a diverse group of individuals who represent various stakeholders, communities, and populations in the Washington, DC area. The CAB facilitates linkages between communities and researchers at CTSI-CN in all stages of the investigative process. Importantly, the CAB provides guidance to ensure that a shared understanding can be developed between researchers and community stakeholders – one that acknowledges the lived experiences of community members, a community’s unique historical experiences with research, and contextual factors that could potentially impede translational research if left unrecognized.

Why Consider a CAB Consultation?

Community-engaged research (CER) is vital for achieving improved health outcomes and health equity. By fostering CER through enhanced community-research relationship building, the CTSI-CN enhances the impact of clinical and translational science on population health. There are potential pitfalls of conducting research without considering effective strategies for community engagement, including misguided research approaches; implicit bias; community misunderstanding of research goals; unsuccessful participant recruitment; research that does not reflect community needs or values; or mistrust among patients and community members. The CE Core aims to support the integration of community engagement principles throughout the translational research continuum, including facilitating meaningful participation of community stakeholders in research. An important aspect of this engagement includes opportunities for researchers to gain direct feedback from communities at all stages of research.

What Does CAB Consultation Entail?

CAB members are available to provide a community perspective on various dimensions of translational research. These topics will vary, but may include providing guidance on the identification of community partners, building relationships and trust with communities in order to sustain collaboration, creating mutually beneficial investments, organizing a research study CAB (required by some grants), developing research questions, assisting with outreach and recruitment of study participants, guiding intervention design, navigating barriers or facilitators to participant engagement in research, tailoring of materials to target audiences, and disseminating information to communities, among others.

The CAB consultation can occur in a variety of formats, depending on the request and investigator/CAB preferences. Investigators can be matched with one or more CAB members whose experience, qualifications, and/or knowledge align with the specific request. Alternatively, investigators can attend a CAB meeting to obtain feedback from CAB membership. The consultation can be a one-time occurrence, or investigators may request multiple consultations.

How Do i access this resource?

Investigators can submit requests through SPARC, a CTSI-CN platform, to seek assistance with their research. Investigators will be asked to submit information about their study and study population, as well as other details specific to their request.  Investigators will be contacted within one week to determine consultation next steps.

WHO SHOULD I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?

For more information, please also visit the CTSI-CN Faculty and Staff Directory and select the "Community Engagement" service area to find the person(s) responsible for this resource.