Collaboration with communities in research occurs along a continuum referred to as community-engaged research. Community-engaged research is recognized by the National Institutes of Health, researchers and community groups as critical to understanding and addressing differences in health status and health outcomes across race, ethnicity and income status. As a result, community groups are increasingly being approached by researchers seeking to conduct research in the communities they serve or have access to, and more community groups are initiating their own research studies. Universities and university-based health disparities researchers have established funding mechanisms for their research roles and networks for professional development, mentoring and advocacy. As more community groups are engaged in research, it is clear that they need their own such supports. We held successful community forums in 2011 and 2012 that laid the foundation for a national community partner network called the Community Network for Research Equity and Impact. The Community Network has identified a need for continued professional and leadership development of community groups engaged in research. The proposed conference, to be held in April 2014 in Chicago, will be the first national conference of the Community Network and will convene community organizations involved in health disparities research to deepen their knowledge and skills and position them for leadership roles in research practice and policy.
Community-engaged research is recognized by the National Institutes of Health, researchers and community groups as critical to achieving health equity across diverse communities in the United States. By convening community groups that are involved in community-engaged health disparities research, our proposed conference will help to ensure that communities most affected by health disparities are at the decision making tables that decide what research gets conducted, how and by whom, and that they have the knowledge and skills to be effective research partners and to lead research. As a result, the proposed conference seeks to ensure that community-engaged health disparities research in the future can reach its full potential to improve the public's health.