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Community Engagement

What is meant by community engagement?

Developing personal relationships with leaders or other representatives of a community; understanding the needs, desires, and characteristics of a community; or making  research more understandable and acceptable to a community is "engagement".  Communities can be defined geographically (e.g., people living near freeways, border communities, specific neighborhoods), by a chronic disease or health condition (e.g., Down's Syndrome, asthma), by a disability (e.g., deaf, hearing impaired), by ethnicity, race or religion (e.g., immigrants from Africa, Latinos), by a common experience (e.g., international war veterans, homeless, prostitutes), or by demographics (e.g., elderly).

What is the nature of ‘consultation’ on community engagement?

The ACTRI Community Resources team has experts in health disparities research, recruitment/retention methods, and outreach to specific types of communities who can provide advice on ways to improve a research proposal. Ideally consultation should occur when a proposal is being drafted, however assistance can be provided at any stage during the research project. 

Examples of possible consultation requests include:

  • Suggestions for subject recruitment and/or retention enhancement
  • Methods for addressing health equity and health disparities during study design
  • Introductions to key community agency personnel (e.g., community clinics, health fair sponsors, veterans associations, disease-specific organizations, ethnic groups)
  • Venues to solicit input from end-users of research (i.e., health care providers, insurers, community members, community leaders) so that research design or methodology are tweaked to make research results more adoptable and relevant  

To access these resources, please click the "Request ACTRI Services" button above. If you have any questions, please contact Community Resources at ctri-community@ucsd.edu.

What resources and materials are available to help with community engagement?

ResearchMatch is a NIH-sponsored national registry of volunteers who have indicated a willingness to learn more about research studies. This registry aims to be an effective, useful and complementary recruitment tool that connects researchers with appropriate potential subjects. ResearchMatch is not just for clinical trials. It is available at no cost. For more information about ResearchMatch click here.

The following San Diego County Health Department publications may be useful in preparing applications:

Healthy People 2020 Update (San Diego compared to U.S. and California)
Healthy People 2020: How Does San Diego County Measure Up?

Cities of San Diego – Demographic Profiles
2016 Demographic Profiles by City Municipality

CDC WONDER–CDC Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER) is a public resource. This application makes many health-related data sets available to CDC staff, public health departments, researchers, and others. The data help with public health research, decision making, priority setting, program evaluation, and resource allocation.