Community Engagement Studios: Connecting Researchers and Community
by Emily Wells, Research Program Manager, University of Virginia Wise
Community engagement is critical in all phases of clinical and translational research from proposal development to dissemination of research results. To increase opportunities for community input and feedback iTHRIV offers Community Engagement Studios (CES), a facilitated discussion between researchers and the community. In a CES the community participants are individuals who have knowledge about the particular research topic (i.e., breast cancer, substance abuse etc.), through an individual lived experience, as a caregiver, job or other understanding.
A CES provides an opportunity for the researchers to learn from the community members who are the experts on the topic. Community experts are compensated for their time in the studio and provides experts the opportunity to learn about research that could impact their community, provides information they can share back and creates opportunities for communities to have their voices heard. A CES begins with the researcher providing an overview of their proposed research, the facilitator then asks a set of preidentified questions to the community experts and the researcher becomes the student. The CES is one-way iTHRIV is creating opportunities to bridge the gap between academic institutions and communities, assess feasibility of proposals and improve research quality.
Currently Community Engagement Studios are being held virtually through Zoom and can be used at different stages in the research process. Please contact Kris Miller, iTHRIV Partnership Manager, to learn more.