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Courses in Community Engagement

What is meant by 'community engagement'?

Community can be defined geographically (e.g., people living near freeways, border communities), by a chronic disease or health condition (e.g., Down 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).

Engaging with a community means developing personal relationships with leaders or other representatives of that community, understanding the needs, desires, and characteristics of that community, and making your research needs more understandable and acceptable to these communities.

How can investigators and research coordinators benefit from having knowledge of 'community engagement'?

Investigator teams that successfully engage with key individuals and agencies that represent various  communities can:

  • Greatly enhance their recruitment efforts
  • Know how to modify  their study methodologies so that community members are retained throughout the study
  • Enhance  grant applications to NIH and other funding agencies that favor research programs that address health equity and reducing health disparities
  • Relationships with community agencies (e.g., community clinics, health fairs, veterans associations, disease-specific organizations like American Lung Association) can be sustained and serve as helpful resources for many years
  • Learn how to market your research products more likely to be implemented (e.g., your new technology, therapies, behavioral/prevention programs)

What training opportunities and courses are available to ACTRI members and their research team members on 'community engagement'? 

Currently, training is available in the following formats:

  1. A specialist from ACTRI's community engagement unit will do a 30-minute or 1-hour training session for a department, research team, or training program.
  2. One-to-one consultation that is specific to your project's needs. This can address health care disparities, among other topics. This and other services can be accessed by clicking on the "Request ACTRI Services" button above.

To access these resources, contact Rodney von Jaeger at or 858-822-0734.