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Developing and Piloting a Community Scientist Academy to Engage Communities and Patients in Research
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    Effective translational research requires engagement and collaboration between communities, researchers, and practitioners. We describe a community scientist academy (CSA) developed at the suggestion of our CTSA’s community advisory board to engage and capacitate community members by 1) increasing community members’ and patients’ understanding about the research process and 2) increasing their access to opportunities to influence and participate in research. A joint CTSA/community planning committee developed this 8-hour workshop including sessions on: 1) research definitions and processes; 2) study design; 3) study implementation; and 4) ways to get involved in research. The workshop format includes interactive exercises, content slides and videos, and researcher and community presenters.


    Community-based information sessions allowed assessment of community interest before piloting. Two pilots of the CSA were conducted with community members and patients. Participant data and a pre/post knowledge and feedback survey provides evaluation data.


    The pilot included 24 diverse participants, over half of whom had not previously participated in research. Evaluation data suggest knowledge gains. Post- CSA, one third have reviewed CTSA pilot grants and over 80% want to attend further training.


    The CSA can demystify the research process for those underrepresented in research and facilitate their engagement and influence within CTSAs.

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