A historical legacy of exploitation and discrimination is one of the numerous factors contributing to health disparities, resulting in mistrust of the health care system, academics, and research. In addition, researcher cultural competency for working with disadvantaged populations may be limited. Filling these gaps, community engaged research strives to increase research engagement and benefit through developing partnerships characterized by mutual respect, understanding, and trust between researcher and community. The research team and the community share common ground, thus understanding and respecting each other's opinions and needs. Consistent with the unifying themes of the UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR), we need innotavite and culturally responsive tools to enhance research literacy among disadvantaged populations and to increase researcher understanding of and ability to work with the community. We propose storytelling as such a tool. Storytelling is grounded two overarching CHEIR themes: (1) developing literacy appropriate tools that are tailored by deep cultural structure and (2) focusing on strategies that do not require direct physician intervention.
Our Specific Aims are to: (1) Advance the field of community engaged science through the development, dissemination and evaluation of innovative, culturally responsive strategies to increase community research literacy;(2) Establish and promote community engaged approaches in the three CHEIR research projects, thus increasing academic investigators'understanding of the community;and (3) Develop new community engaged research in CHEIR and across UMass through a consultation service for disparities researchers and community partners and by contributing to the Mentoring Circles and curriculum opportunities developed by the Research Training/Education Core. Our work will be informed by an Oversight Board comprised of diverse community members, representatives of community organizations that serve diverse populations, and UMass researchers.
The CHEIR Community Engagement core will advance the field of community engaged sciences through the development of an innovative, culturally responsive approach to increase research literacy among racial and ethnic minorities and persons of low SES, and support the community engagement activities of the three CHEIR research projects.
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