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Building Your Capacity and Advancing Research through Community Engagement

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2009 Building Your Capacity Fellows

The application period for this program is now closed. 

Overview: We seek applications from community agencies in the Greater Boston area to participate in our second community research fellows program. The goal of our program is to build capacity in community-based organizations so they can participate fully in community engaged research. We will provide relevant, interactive training sessions that utilize local examples and resource people. Fellows will be supported as they incorporate research (or research partnerships) into their practice.

What is community engaged research?

Community engaged research describes research that incorporates community involvement in any phase of the research process. The community partner could be involved with identifying the research question, collecting and analyzing data, and helping to disseminate the findings to the larger community. “Community partners” can include staff of community-based institutions such as faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, schools or health departments or individuals such as residents of a neighborhood or members of a grass-roots community group.

Why is this training program important?

The translation of research findings into clinical practice and community settings has been the focus of a national agenda and includes a growing emphasis on community engaged research. At the same time, universities are recognizing that strong and mutually beneficial partnerships are essential for research to have a meaningful impact on the health of all communities. Without training or knowledge about research, communities may not be able to negotiate these partnerships effectively and equitably.

Who is eligible to apply?

Community-based organizations with 501c3 status or those with a fiscal sponsor are eligible to apply. The applicant organization must designate at least one employee to participate in the trainings. This program is geared towards professional staff who have an interest in research, but have not had the opportunity for formal research training.

What benefit will this program provide to the participating individual/fellow?

  • Fellows will gain knowledge and skills about the spectrum of community involvement in research, with a focus on Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Fellows will receive a stipend of $1,500 for participating in the program. In cases where more than one individual is representing an organization, the staff members will divide the $1,500 honorarium.
  • Fellows will complete education requirements for human subjects research.
  • Fellows will network with other professionals interested in making research relevant to practice.

What benefit will this program provide to participating organizations?

  • Organizations will build their capacity to engage in research with academic partners.
  • Organizations will learn how to incorporate research results that can directly inform program implementation.
  • Organizations will develop skills of staff to advocate for community needs in academic research.
  • Organizations will increase access to academic networks, and other resources.
  • Organizations will receive $3,500 to support involvement of staff in this program. This is in addition to the participating individual’s $1,500 stipend.

What is the time commitment?

The training period will take place between January and May 2011. All sessions will take place during normal business hours. All participants are expected to attend all the training sessions. There will also be reading and homework assigned in between sessions.

What does the training program consist of?

The training program consists of 1) bi-weekly training sessions 2) meetings with a research consultant 3) development of a research plan.

Training Topics and Timeline

The following is an outline of the training program including dates and topics. Each session is 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., except where otherwise noted.

Session 1: January 7 - Introduction to Collaborative Community Research (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Session 2: January 14 - Academic Community Partnerships
Session 3: February 4 - Ethics 
Session 4: February 18 - Developing a Research Question
Session 5: March 11 - Working Session about Projects
Session 6: March 18 - Research Design
Session 7: April 1 - Quantitative Methods
Session 8: April 15 - Qualitative Methods
Session 9: April 29 - Proposal Writing
Session 10: May 6 - Policy and Action and Fellows Graduation (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

Research Consultants

Fellows will be matched with a research consultant who will provide support in developing a research plan for their organization, setting priorities for research, developing research questions and connecting the organization to other resources. Participants can expect up to 10 hours of consultation time over the course of the training program.

Research Plan

Over the course of the program, participants will also develop a research plan on a specific topic for their organization.  Developing a research plan provides the fellows with an opportunity to apply what they are learning in the training program to a real-world issue his/her organization is facing. In the past, fellows have developed the following research plans:

  • Co-writing a CBPR research grant with an academic partner
  • Developing an internal evaluation document to better measure program outcomes
  • Establishing an organizational protocol for working with academic researchers

Post Award Requirements

  • The recipient organization will be asked to complete a Memorandum of Understanding prior to the start of the program.
  • This training program is part of an intervention research study to develop and test curriculum for research capacity-building.
  • There will be a site visit in November and December for those organizations accepted into the program.

Sponsors of this Initiative

This training program is a collaborative effort of Tufts Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center|Harvard Catalyst, Boston University, the Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC), the Center for Community Health Education, Research and Service (CCHERS), and the Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health (ISPG/H). This program is funded by an American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant award from the National Institutes of Health as a supplemental award to Grant Number UL1 RR025752 from the National Center For Research Resources and as part of their efforts to invest in new research that explores ideas that have the potential to speed the translation of research to improve health.

Participating Organizations in the First Year of the Program

Important Application Dates

October 7, 2010: 5 p.m.: Last day to submit applications by e-mail or fax.

October 25-29, 2010: Committee review of applications.

Week of November 1, 2010: Applicants notified of status.

November-December, 2010: Site visits with accepted organizations.

Application Guidelines

  1. Fill out the application form.
  2. Each staff member who would like to participate in the training is requested to submit a one page statement of interest which includes the following: a) Description of your position in the organization and how increasing research skills/knowledge would benefit your position and organization. b) Description of your research interests. c) Experience, if any, in community engaged research. d) Existing partnerships with researchers, if any.
  3. The Executive Director is requested to submit a one page letter of support, which should include the following: a) Outline of the mission of the organization, health issues organization focuses on, the geographic reach and demographics of the population the organization serves and the types of services the organization provides. b) Description of research interests of the organization/community. c) Given the research needs and interests of the organization/community, why is this individual(s) a good candidate for this training program?


For more information or technical assistance, contact:

Carolyn Leung
Program Manager
Aligning Researchers and Communities for Health (ARCH) Tufts CTSI

Jennifer Opp
Community Liaison Officer
Harvard Catalyst