The Community Engagement Core (CEC) aims to develop, implement, and evaluate a community-based infrastructure to maintain the link between MHDRC researchers and the targeted communities. The ultimate goal is to enhance minority participation in research by building community capacity and engaging the community in the development and implementation processes of research studies. The objectives of the CEC will be accomplished using the principles of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and the Empowerment Model. The leaders of the CEC are established partners of the targeted communities, and the Core will build on the success of the community and institutional capacities developed during Phases I and II of the MHDRC and through other UAB programs in health disparities. The specific alms are: 1) Establish a coalition that will lead to effective partnerships between the community and investigators from MHDRC and UAB;2) Promote capacity building in the targeted communities by educating and empowering the community constituents, such as community-based organizations and church representatives, and by establishing networks of trained community volunteers;3) Develop a culturally appropriate plan to enhance the recruitment and retention of minorities in research studies related to health disparities (diabetes, cancer, CVD, etc.), with emphasis on underserved groups;4) Engage community partners in the application and dissemination of findings from relevant evidence-based research projects in diabetes, cancer prevention and control, and CVD risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension;5) Provide training and education for investigators and staff on the best practices for conducting research in racial/ethnic minority communities, with emphasis on cultural competency, bioethics, risk assessment, behavioral change, and CBPR principles. Significance. The Core builds on a strong community infrastructure that was established during the previous two phases of the P60 COE - MHDRC. It continues and expands our previous work that led to understanding of the socio-cultural factors associated with barriers of minority participation in clinical research. It takes into account the cultural perspectives of the targeted audience in the program development, using formative assessments. The communities will benefit by participating in dialogue with MHDRC investigators about the research agenda, and from the dissemination of evidence-based practices. MHDRC investigators will realize enhanced minority participation in research studies, greater community buy-in to the research agenda of the MHDRC, and clearer routes of dissemination and intervention sustainability.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1)
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University of Alabama Birmingham
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