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Community Partner Summit

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Co-Sponsors & Supporters
Planning Committee
Products & Resources


With guidance from a planning committee of community leaders, twenty-three experienced community partners from across the U.S. convened for Achieving the Promise of Authentic Community-Higher Education Partnerships: A Community Partner Summit held April 24-26, 2006 at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin. For a list of Summit co-sponsors and supporters, click here.

The overall purpose of the Summit was to advance authentic community-higher education partnerships by mobilizing a network of experienced community partners. Highlights of Summit outcomes appear below. Click here for the Summit Executive Summary.

During the Summit, participants identified key insights and ingredients of effective, authentic community-higher education partnerships. These include the following:

  • Strong relationships of trust, honesty, transparency, respect, equity
  • Mutual benefit of all partners
  • Shared ownership of the project and partnership
  • Clear roles and expectations of all partners
  • Support from a funding agency that understands how equal partnerships are developed and sustained
  • Community partners are valued and compensated for their expertise
  • Community and academic partners gain transferable skills
  • Peer networks established in the community for mentoring, learning and sharing of best practices

Participants also articulated a framework for authentic community-higher education partnerships that has three essential components:

  1. Quality processes that are relationship focused; open, honest and respectful; trustbuilding; acknowledging of history; committed to mutual learning and sharing credit.
  2. Meaningful outcomes which are tangible and relevant to communities. For example: eliminating health disparities, affordable housing, education and economic development.
  3. Transformation at multiple levels, including:

    a. Personal transformation, including self reflection and heightened political consciousness
    b. Institutional transformation, including changing policies and systems
    c. Community transformation, including community capacity building
    d. Transformation of science and knowledge, including how knowledge is generated, used and valued and what constitutes “evidence”
    e. Political transformation, including social justice

The group worked together to build a case for the importance of community-higher education partnerships. Together, they established that by bringing together the wisdom and lived expertise of community members with the theoretical and research-oriented expertise of academics, community-higher education partnerships have great potential as agents of social change.

From their discussions, the group developed these recommendations for how to maximize the potential of community-higher education partnerships:

  1. Community partners have the responsibility to share their collective wisdom and knowledge about community-higher education partnerships with community members, universities, and funding agencies.
  2. Community involvement and capacity building is needed at the local, regional, and national levels. Supports are needed to develop community members as civic leaders, change agents, and community-based researchers.
  3. Community partners should develop principles of participation to clarify terms of engagement and expectations in their partnerships with higher educational institutions.
  4. To facilitate greater understanding, community partners must familiarize themselves with the culture and daily realities of their academic partners, and vice versa.
  5. Community partners must work together with academic partners/allies to change the culture of higher education into one that values and supports communities as equal partners.
  6. Community partners must work together with academic partners/allies to elevate the credibility and recognition for the life/work experience of community partners and the context/environment in which they do this work.
  7. Funding agencies need to reexamine funding priorities, as well as how funding is structured, reviewed, distributed, and evaluated, to ensure that these advance and do not undermine the potential for authentic community-higher education partnerships.
  8. Community partners should form a collective body to reduce the feelings of isolation experienced by many community partners and increase capacity through mentoring, networking and advocacy.

Co-Sponsors & Supporters

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
WK Kellogg Foundation
Johnson Foundation
The Atlantic Philanthropies

Community-Based Public Health Caucus of the American Public Health Association
National Community-Based Organization Network
National Community Committee of the CDC Prevention Research Centers Program

Planning Committee

E. Hill DeLoney, Flint Odyssey House, Inc. Health Awareness Center, Flint, MI
Elmer Freeman, Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc., Boston, MA
Ella Greene-Moton, Flint Odyssey House, Inc. Health Awareness Center, Flint, MI
Yvonne Lewis, Faith Access to Community Economic Development, Flint, MI
Gerry Roll, Hazard Perry County Community Ministries, Inc., Hazard, KY
Monte Roulier, Community Initiatives, LLC, Columbia, MO
Lucille Webb, Strengthening the Black Family, Inc., Raleigh, NC
Vickie Ybarra, Director of Planning and Development, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Yakima, WA


Click here for photos and biographical sketches of Summit participants.

Community Partners:
Beneta D. Burt, Chairperson, Jackson Roadmap to Health Equity, Jackson, MS
John Caranto, Director of Programs and Evaluations, Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, Los Angeles, CA
Vince Crisostomo, Community Representative, GUAM HIV/AIDS Network Project/Pacific Island Jurisdictions AIDS Action Group, Arlington, VA
Mrs. E. Hill DeLoney, Director, Flint Odyssey House, Inc. Health Awareness Center, Flint, MI
Elmer Freeman, Executive Director, Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc., Boston, MA
Ella Greene-Moton, Program Coordinator/Community Liaison, Flint Odyssey House, Inc. Health Awareness Center, Flint, MI
Susan Gust, Co-Founder/Co-Coordinator, GRASS Routes, Minneapolis, MN
Loretta Jones, Executive Director, Healthy African American Families, Los Angeles, CA
Lissette M. Lahoz, Program Director, Latinos for Healthy Communities, Allentown, PA
Daniella S. Levine, Executive Director, Human Services Coalition of Dade County, Inc., Miami, FL
Yvonne Lewis, Executive Director, Faith Access to Community Economic Development, Flint, MI
Ed Lucas, Executive Director/Co-Founder, Renacer Westside Community Network, Inc.,
Chicago, IL
Ann-Gel Palermo, Chair, Harlem Community & Academic Partnership, New York, NY
Alice Park, Research Coordinator, Urban Indian Health Institute, Seattle Indian Health Board, Seattle, WA
Gerry Roll, Executive Director, Hazard Perry County Community Ministries, Inc., Hazard, KY
Lola Sablan Santos, Executive Director, Guam Communications Network, Long Beach, CA
Ira SenGupta, Executive Director, Cross Cultural Health Care Program, Seattle, WA
Douglas Taylor, Executive Director, Founder, Southeast Community Research Center, Atlanta, GA
Pearlie M. Toliver, Vice President, Branch Banking and Trust Co., Macon, GA
Lucille Webb, Founding Member/President, Board of Directors, Strengthening the Black
Family, Inc., Raleigh, NC
Eve Wenger, Executive Director, Pocono Healthy Communities Alliance, Stroudsburg, PA
Noelle Wiggins, Director, Community Capacitation Center, Multnomah Co. Health Department, Portland, OR
Vickie Ybarra, Director of Planning and Development, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Yakima, WA

Monte Roulier, Community Initiatives, LLC, Columbia, MO

Christoph Hanssmann, 2005-2006 Graduate Research Assistant, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA
Sarena D. Seifer, Executive Director, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA
Kristine Wong, Program Director, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA

Ted Hullar, Former Director, Higher Education Programs, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Ithaca, NY
Carole M. Johnson, Program Officer, Education, The Johnson Foundation, Racine, WI

Products & Resources

The Summit has generated a number of products and resources intended to support community partners in their community-higher education partnership work:

Achieving the Promise of Authentic Community-Higher Education Partnerships: Community Partners Speak Out! - This report includes the Summit proceedings and information about opportunities for community partners to get involved in Summit follow-up activities through the Community Partner Listserv and the Mentoring and Policy Workgroups.

Executive Summary – This 5-page document provides a summary of the Summit and its outcomes, including a list of Summit participants.

Community Case Stories – These community-authored case stories provide diverse perspectives on community-higher education partnerships. An introduction offers suggestions for how these case stories can be used for developing and sustaining partnerships.

Community-Higher Education Partnerships: National Trends & Realities – This slide presentation about the current state of community-higher education partnership helped to inform discussions at the Summit.

Community Partner Summit Poster – First presented at the American Public Health Association conference in November 2006, this poster captures the essence of the Summit through quotes, photos and brief descriptions. To borrow the poster for use in your community, contact CCPH at or (206) 666-3406.

Community Partner Summit Presentation – This slide presentation provides an overview of Summit deliberations and outcomes.

Realizing the Promise of Community-Based Participatory Research: Community Partners Get Organized! is an invited editorial that appears in Winter 2007 issue of the journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action. The editorial cites recommendations made by the Community Partner Policy Workgroup that are designed to ensure that community partners participate in decision making about federal funding for community-based participatory research and access funding as principal investigators.

Achieving the Promise of Community-Higher Education Partnerships: Community Partners Get Organized is an invited chapter in the Handbook of Engaged Scholarship, published by Michigan State University in 2010.  Please note the contact email in the chapter is incorrect - it should be

Community-Higher Education Partnerships: Community Perspectives - this annotated bibliography, primarily developed with community partners in mind, contains citations and abstracts for over 100 articles and reports.


At the conclusion of the Summit, participants organized themselves into action-oriented workgroups designed to increase the number and effectiveness of community-higher education partnerships and to ensure that communities are involved in dialogues and decisions about these partnerships. CCPH hosted two conference calls in 2007 to provide an overview of the workgroups and opportunities for involvement. Click here for meeting minutes from these calls.

 The Mentoring Workgroup developed and implemented peer mentoring and leadership development activities designed to build the capacity of community partners to engage in authentic community-higher education partnerships and succeed in their community-building work.  These activities includes hosting an educational conference call series in summer 2008

The Policy Workgroup developed and advocated for policies that support authentic community-higher education partnerships, including submitting statements in response to NIH requests for public comments:

* Click here for the 2007 statement submitted on the NIH National Center for Research Resources' Strategic Plan

* Click here for the 2007 statement submitted on the NIH Peer Review Process

* "Realizing the Promise of Community Engagement in Research," was submitted in response to NIH's Request for Information (RFI): To Solicit Input and Ideas for Roadmap Trans-NIH Strategic Initiatives.


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