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CCET innovates best practices for community engaged research

CTSI's Community Collaboration & Engagement Team innovates best practices for community engaged research, enhancing how we collaborate with the community to plan, conduct, and disseminate health related research.


Meaningful and sustained community engagement can be accomplished in a variety of ways and requires time, attention, and flexibility. Building trusting relationships with members of a community and finding ways to enable their connection to translational science and research requires sustained and committed effort. One step often overlooked by researchers is community dissemination.

Community dissemination involves the return of results or the sharing of gained knowledge to community participants that have contributed to the collection of study data. The CTSI’s Community Collaboration and Engagement Team (CCET) has implemented best practices to ensure that information is disseminated back to all levels of the community including members, teams, organizations, etc.

The CCET first inquires about the preferred method (e.g., community forums, reports, virtual meetings, etc.) for dissemination. The team has found that it is critical to consider creative and innovative ways of disseminating the information such as social media, community newsletters, community events, etc. A final wrap-up meeting of the project could also be considered to share findings, address final concerns, future projects, and on-going communication. It is important to consider preferred language to ensure data are translated into the desired language of the community. The CCET recommends community dissemination, or the delivery of findings be conducted for all projects and in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

Finally, in a traditional research project, the end of a project is also the end of the collaboration and relationship with those involved; however, in community engaged research, an on-going relationship with collaborators is anticipated and encouraged. Many times, the end of the first research project is only the beginning of a lasting collaborative partnership, from which other work can grow and relationships can deepen. Community dissemination is a “best practice” that can help maintain those partnerships.


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