The purpose of the Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEOC) is to enhance and expand existing meaningful community-academic collaborations in order to promote minority health in the U.S. Southwest region and to prevent, reduce and eliminate health disparities. Using community-based particiaptory research (CBPR) and involving SIRC's Community Advisory Board (CAB) in strategic planning, SIRC investigators identified the following strategic health disparities activities to guide the CEOC as we move forward: 1) enhancing leadership role of the CAB, 2) strengthening research capacity of community partners, 3) increasing translational research and health literacy efforts, 4) building community evaluation capacity, and 5) developing policy and advocacy initiatives. The CEOC partners with organizations supporting at-risk underserved populations by creating a two-way flow of knowledge with the main goal of reducing health disparities. The CEOC uses behavioral and social science research and socio-cultural factors to help uncover effective new approaches for community interventions and needed cultural adaptations, and translate them into practical applications. Working with community partners on providing a myriad of methods/activities for their involvement in research capacity building plays a central role in the vision of healthy community-academic partnerships that serve in changing the conditions for health. This community engagement and outreach process involves the direct participation of partners in SIRC and CEOC plans and activities, as well as including CEOC members in specifically designed community efforts aimed at developing community leadership, health knowledge and literacy, research and evaluation capacity, assessment of need for culturally-based interventions. Further, translation of this research can be used to impact data-driven decision and policy making at the local, community, regional and state levels.
These aims and activities lead to inclusion of the community in determining how to use their own socio-cultural resiliency factors to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities, and forge on-going, sustainable partnerships to continue this vital work.
Using CBPR, the SIRC CEOC works with community partners in improving community health, health literacy and translation of scientific research into practical applications, solutions, interventions and policies for the prevention and treatment of health and health disparities problems and risks in underserved communties. Development of new and adapted methodologies, interventions and policies specific to community needs fills a gap in serving these minority populations.
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