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National Community Partner Forum

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Overview & Call for Applications
Agenda & Handouts
Reports & Other Products
For More Information

The 2nd National Community Partner Forum on Community-Engaged Health Disparities Research was held December 5-7, 2012 in Washington, DC. Click here for the press release announcing the forum.

Overview & Call for Applications

Community engagement in research is central to understanding and addressing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health.   Research funding agencies are supporting faculty members and institutions to engage communities as partners in conducting research.  As more community organizations enter into research partnerships with institutions as well as initiate and conduct research, it is clear that we need our own networks for professional development, mentoring and advocacy in order to advance the social change through knowledge and power sharing that must happen if we are to achieve health equity in this country.

At the inaugural National Community Partner Forum in December 2011 in Boston, an agenda for change emerged: For research to have any hope of moving the needle on health disparities, communities of color and low-income communities need to have (1) power in decisions made about research (2) the capacity and infrastructure to engage as equal research partners with institutions and conduct their own research and (3) significant roles in building the capacity of academic institutions to engage and partner with communities.   As community leaders who are passionate about health equity and social justice, participants quickly came together around the need for research equity and justice – through the co-production of knowledge and building democracy in the shared governance of their partnerships. Inaugural forum participants – 77% people of color and 80% involved in federally funded research – established a leadership structure, formed workgroups for peer learning and resource development and pledged to gather again a year later in Washington DC.

The 2nd National Community Partner Forum seeks to advance community-engaged research as a tool for eliminating health disparities by:

  1. Deepening the knowledge and skills needed by community partners to successfully conduct community-engaged research, negotiate community-academic research partnerships and serve in national leadership roles;
  2. Disseminating innovative work of community partners that others can learn from and build on;
  3. Engaging in constructive dialogue between community partners and key stakeholders in academic, government and philanthropic sectors to foster mutual understanding and supportive action; and
  4. Growing and deepening a national network of community partners that facilitates professional development and has a significant voice in decisions about research practice and policy

A widely disseminated call for applications sought experienced and novice community partners involved in research who were committed to social justice, willing to share their challenges and successes, and eager to both enhance their impact at a local level and contribute to a broader research and advocacy agenda.  Community partners who were involved in partnerships with academic institutions were encouraged to invite an academic partner to apply to attend the forum evening reception and poster session on Dec 6 and the dialogue on Dec 7.   In selecting participants, the planning committee sought diversity in terms of their geographic location, race/ethnicity and research experience. In order to maximize opportunities for dialogue, active learning and subsequent action, the forum was limited to about 100 community-based participants and 50 academic partners, policy makers and funders.  Click here for a map showing the location of community partners who attended the forum. 

Agenda & Handouts

The forum was designed to provide time and space for community partners to learn and strategize together as peers before their academic partners and other key stakeholders joined the conversation.  On Dec 5, 2012, afternoon skill-building workshops covered such topics as the basics of community-based participatory research, addressing challenges in partner-based research, applying for and managing research grants, preparing to serve on federal research advisory committees and grant review panels, and developing community IRBs and community research review boards.  On Dec 6, 2012, a panel of workgroup leaders and organizers from the inaugural forum reported on their progress and engaged new community members in determining their future plans.  Small group sessions tapped into the knowledge in the room by drawing out successes, failures, lessons learned and promising practices in community-engaged research.  That evening, academic partners, policy makers and funders joined the forum for a reception and poster session.  On December 7, 2012, community partners reported on their deliberations and engaged academic partners, policy makers and funders in a dialogue around the actions that are needed.

Click here for the forum agenda.
Click here for photos from the forum.
Click on the title below to open the corresponding powerpoint presentation or handout.

Opening Session: Our Journey to this Point
Covering the Basics of Developing Community-Institutional Partnerships & Conducting Community-Based Participatory Research: What Community Partners Need to Know
Demystifying The Process of Applying for & Managing Federal Research Grants: Practical Strategies for Success in Funding
Developing Community-Academic Partnerships: The Hispanic Health Council Case Study
Developing Community Leadership
Moving from Knowledge to Action: Ensuring Research Findings are Disseminated and Used
Closing Session: A National Community Partner Agenda for Action

Reports & Other Products

The Community Network for Research Equity & Impact, launched in February 2013 as an outcome of the 2nd National Community Partner Forum, seeks to ensure that communities have a significant voice in decisions about research practice and policy, are true partners in research, and fully benefit from the knowledge gained. Read about its Agenda for Action and how to get involved here.


Community-Campus Partnerships for Health: A national non-profit organization founded in 1996, CCPH promotes health equity and social justice through partnerships between communities and academic institutions.   We view health broadly as physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and emphasize partnership approaches to health that focus on changing the conditions and environments in which people live, work and play.  Our strategic goals are to:

  • Leverage the knowledge, wisdom and experience in communities and in academic institutions to solve pressing health, social, environmental and economic challenges
  • Ensure that community-driven social change is central to the work of community-academic partnerships
  • Build the capacity of communities and academic institutions to engage each other in partnerships that balance power, share resources, and work towards systems change

Our members – a diverse group of over 2,000 individuals affiliated with community organizations, colleges and universities, health care delivery systems, student service organizations, foundations and government – are advancing these goals in their work on a daily basis.  CCPH is governed by a board of directors that reflects the diverse constituencies we serve. What ties us together is our commitment to social justice and our passion for the power of partnerships to transform communities and academe. 

Center for Community Health Education Research and Service: CCHERS is a community-based organization that is a community/academic partnership established in 1991 with a $6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Partnerships in Health Professions Education initiative. The partnership is comprised of Boston Medical Center, the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston University School of Medicine, Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences and an established network of fifteen community health centers (FQHC) serving the racially and ethnically diverse populations of the City. Northeastern University serves as its host institution and sustaining partner.  The mission of CCHERS is to promote the development of “academic community health centers,” that integrate education, research, and service, to influence and change health professions education; improve health care delivery; and promote health systems change to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.

National Institutes of Health: Funding for the forum is made possible (in part) by 1R13MD007569-01 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences awarded to Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


The forum simply would not be possible without the involvement of the people and organizations below who generously contributed their time and other resources.

Generous scholarship support was provided by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, Program on Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health; the Connecticut Health Foundation; and Community-Campus Partnerships for Health’s Bobby Gottlieb Scholarship Fund.

The forum planning committee members shared their passion and guiding vision:

Grace Damio, Director of Research and Service Initiatives, Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT

Elmer Freeman, Executive Director, Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Boston, MA

Susan Gust, Community Activist & Small Business Owner, Minneapolis, MN

Ernest Hopkins, Founder & CEO, The Phoenix Group Foundation, Atlanta, GA

Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman, Director of Environmental Health, West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE-ACT), New York, NY

Ann-Gel Palermo, Chair, Harlem Community & Academic Partnership, New York, NY

Fernando Pineda-Reyes, Executive Director, Community, Research, Education & Awareness (CREA) Results, Denver, CO

Alex Pirie, Coordinator, Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health, Somerville, MA

Al Richmond, Director, Healthy Workplace Initiatives, North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, Durham, NC

Zachary Rowe, Executive Director, Friends of Parkside, Detroit, MI

Jean Schensul, Senior Scientist & Founding Director, Institute for Community Research, Hartford, CT

Raquel Trinidad, Member, Institutional Review Board, Special Service for Groups, Los Angeles, CA

Eric Wat, Director, Research and Evaluation Unit, Special Service for Groups, Los Angeles, CA

Gayle M. Woodsum, President, Action Resources International, Laramie, WY

Consultants and staff demonstrated professionalism and teamwork:

Catherine Immanuel, Catherine Immanuel Designs, San Francisco, CA

Michael Jahn, Location Solvers, Washington DC

Piper McGinley, Associate Director, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, San Francisco, CA

Rahma Osman, Program Assistant, CCPH, Seattle, WA

Alice Park, Research Coordinator, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA

Sarena D. Seifer, Executive Director, CCPH, Seattle, WA

Nancy Shore, Associate Professor, University of New England School of Social Work and Senior Consultant, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA

Matthew Wu, Program Assistant, Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Boston, MA

Faye Ziegeweid, Administrative and Membership Coordinator, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA

Student note-takers helped to document forum discussions

  • Bryant Best, University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Sociology
  • Robin Bloodworth, University of Maryland, School of Public Health

  • Brigid Boettler, George Mason University, College of Health and Human Services, School of Public Health

  • Roxanne Chavez, American University, International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program

  • Rebecca Graser, University of New England, School of Social Work

  • Katie Kerstetter, George Mason University, College of Health and Human Services, Sociology

  • Rianna Murray, University of Maryland, School of Public Health

  • Jenita Parekh, Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health

  • Jason Sotomayor, Georgetown University, The AAKOMA Project

  • Margaret Smith, University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Sociology

  • Erin Stephens, George Mason University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

  • Tena Veney, Georgetown University, The AAKOMA Project

  • Michele Wong, Georgetown University, The AAKOMA Project

Michele Wong, Georgetown University

These individuals and organizations also provided support for the forum:

Barbara Gottlieb, Brookside Community Health Center

Maryland Grier, Connecticut Health Foundation

John Ruffin, National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities

Sacoby Wilson, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

Gallaudet Interpreting Service

Freeman Poster Boards

For More Information

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