Increasingly, researchers involve communities in decisions about research aims and methods, and as participants, but community influence on research priorities, a key aspect of just resource allocation, remains limited. We propose development and evaluation of an innovative tool to engage minority and underserved communities in setting clinical and translational research funding priorities. Building on experience developing and using the CHAT (Choosing Healthplans All Together) deliberation exercise, and drawing on community investigators, key informants, and a Steering committee, we will develop CHAT content relevant for health research priorities (ReCHAT). To evaluate the tool, we will convene 50 groups of 9-15 community members from predominantly minority and underserved communities. Evaluation will examine individual and group views of the exercise, including fairness of group decisions and processes. We will also examine the quality of deliberations, and whether participation affects knowledge, trust in researchers or willingness to participate in research. We have commitments from decision makers to use results to influence decisions, and we will examine whether and how this occurs. Successful development of a method to engage communities in health research priority setting has the potential for enormous impact and could make research funding decisions more just and more aligned with community needs and values.
While substantial progress has occurred recognizing community expertise in research, and involving communities in decisions about research aims and methods, community influence on research funding priorities remains limited. Building on experience with developing, testing and using the successful CHAT (Choosing Healthplans All Together) tool, we plan to modify an existing priority setting simulation exercise to develop a tool to engage minority and underserved communities in setting priorities for clinical and translational research, evaluate it from the perspective of those who participate, and examine the extent to which it actually influences research priorities. This tool could be valuable to research funding organizations, community-academic partnerships, community organizations asked to participate in research, and others aiming to engage communities in research.