261455 Enhancing community research engagement: A national survey of factors and challenges associated with Community Health Centers' research capacity

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Michelle Proser, MPP , Research Department, National Association of Community Health Centers, Washington, DC
Peter Shin, PhD , Department of Health Policy, George Washington University School of Public Health, Washington, DC
Michelle Jester, MA , Research Department, National Association of Community Health Centers, Washington, DC
Perry Payne, MD, JD , School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Chaya T. Merrill, DrPH , Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Rosy Chang Weir, PhD , Department of Research, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Oakland, CA
Christine Nelson, PhD, RN , Department of Research, Oregon Community Health Information Network, Portland, OR
Heather M. Brandt, PhD, CHES , Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Vicki M. Young, PhD , South Carolina Primary Health Care Association, Columbia, SC
Jonathan N. Tobin, PhD , Department of Medical Education, Clinical Directors Network, Inc. (CDN), New York, NY
Tishra Beeson, MPH , Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are community-directed organizations largely serving underserved and under-researched populations. Little is known about the state of research at FQHCs. Three community-academic partnerships collaborated in developing and fielding the first web-based survey assessing FQHCs' roles in research, their research capacity, and their research needs. These partnerships included 1) the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children's National Medical Center and the George Washington University and the National Association of Community Health Centers (CTSI-CN), 2) South Carolina Primary Health Care Association and the University of South Carolina, 3) and the Community Health Applied Research Network.

We surveyed over 1,000 FQHCs with over one-third responding (N=367). Fifty-three percent of respondents participate in research, mostly in partnership with external researchers (78%). Their research roles vary, including participant recruitment (74%), data collection (65%), and developing the research project (29%). Most commonly reported barriers to engaging in research include lack of staff time (87%) and funding opportunities (72%), concern over lost productivity (81%), and assistance in conducting research (72%). These results demonstrate that FQHCs are interested in participating in research but face barriers centering around access to major funding sources and internal capacity. Most request training in finding and capitalizing on funding opportunities (87%) and grant and proposal writing (59%). Survey results will be used to identify factors that contribute to FQHC research engagement and capacity for training needs. Partnerships with external researchers can also help overcome these barriers only if they build capacity for community-engaged research for both communities and academics.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how health center research interests and experience differ along key organizational characteristics. 2. Identify which factors contribute to successful health center capacity-buildling and research engagement. 3. List common training and technical assistance needs from Community Health Centers that wish to enhance their research engagement.

Keywords: Community Health Centers, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been doing community-engaged research for three years. In particular, I have been involved in this project from the very beginning: I was the one to create the survey, field the survey, conduct follow-up, and analyze the survey.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.