270227 Exploring the experiences and impact of Community Research Associates (CRAs) in building infrastructure for community-engaged research: A multi-institution survey of RC4 projects

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Valerie Alexander, MPH , Outreach, Partnerships and Implementation Science, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, Ann Arbor, MI
Adam Paberzs, MPH , Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Patricia Piechowski, MPH, MSW , Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Lee Bell, AA , Neighborhood Round Table, Flint, MI
Karen Calhoun, MA , City Connect Detroit, Detroit, MI
Marie Watkins, LPN , Michigan Clinical Research Unit (MCRU), Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, Ann Arbor, MI
Fran Talsma, MSW , Community Engagement, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, Ann Arbor, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Carolyn Sampselle, PhD, ANP, FAAN , School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
In 2009, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the role of Community Research Associate (CRA) to strengthen and sustain community-university research partnerships focused on accelerating the translation of research findings into local practice. Through the NIH funding mechanism entitled “Building Sustainable Community-Linked Infrastructure to Enable Health Science Research (RC4)” (RFA-OD-09-010), funded institutions were required to identify and establish CRAs within their projects to serve as liaisons between academic health centers and their respective communities. At the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)-funded site, CRAs have been instrumental in enhancing collaborative research partnerships and developing new initiatives that build capacity for community-engaged research. In addition to MICHR, other RC4-funded institutions have utilized CRAs to enhance varying types of health research partnerships and community infrastructure projects. However, little is known about how CRAs affiliated with different sites effectively address issues of community relevance and ensure those priorities are met throughout the research process. To enhance this knowledge-base, MICHR initiated a multi-institution survey among RC4-funded project sites to provide a snapshot comparison of the experiences and impact that CRAs have had in their unique communities and projects. The pilot survey objectives were to 1) document similarities and differences in the role and function of CRAs from different sites, 2) capture perceived impact that CRAs have made in enhancing community-university research partnerships, and 3) determine interest around establishing a collaborative mechanism for sharing of knowledge and best practices.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the role and importance of CRAs in community-engaged research efforts. 2. Discuss findings from the RC4 multi-institution survey. 3. Identify strategies that have been successful in enhancing community-university research partnerships.

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Coordinator of the RC4 funded project at the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) I have been instrumental in this initiative.
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.