Advancing Health Equity: An Innovative Program for Building Community Engagement in Research

Online Publication Date:
September 9, 2022
Publication Status:
Awaiting Publication
Manuscript PDF File:

**Forthcoming in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP). All rights reserved.**

ABSTRACT
Background: The Community Research Fellows (CRF) program seeks to mobilize New Haven residents with lower incomes or from communities of color who are educated and equipped to engage as equal partners in health research at Yale University. The training program combines curriculum-based information with ‘on-the-ground’ experience with Yale research projects, while building relationships between CRFs and researchers. CARE launched 2 consecutive cohorts of the program in 2018-2020.
Objectives: To assess the effect of the Community Research Fellows program on participants’ knowledge of the research process and confidence to engage in research and participants’ satisfaction and perspectives on the program.
Methods: The evaluation of the CRF program included four components: 1) Pre- and post- Program Surveys to assess change in confidence and self-reported knowledge. 2) Curriculum Feedback Satisfaction Survey to gauge satisfaction and make program improvements after each training session. 3) Post-Program CRF Interviews to explore their CRF experiences. 4) Research Team Surveys to assess program satisfaction and areas for improvement.
Results. CRFs reported increased confidence and knowledge, personal and professional growth, and interest in community-engaged research. Overall, participants were very satisfied with each training module.
Conclusions: The CRF program demonstrated that community members are well-suited, well-positioned, and eager to engage in and inform public health research. CRFs bring capacity and valuable perspective to research teams. The CRF training program offers an innovative approach to address power imbalances in research and to move towards more equitable community-university partnerships for improved health outcomes.