Project Summary

Background: Considerable mistrust exists between academic researchers and communities of color. In addition, these communities experience low health research literacy. The Bronx Community Research Review Board (BxCRRB), a free-standing organization, has been trying to bridge this cultural and class divide since 2008 in the nation’s poorest urban county, an over-researched borough that continues experiencing important health inequities.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: Building upon their community-academic partnership, hosted by the Bronx Health Link (TBHL), an independent community-based organization, the BxCRRB proposed to create a Community Engaged Research Academy (CERA) that, using participatory approaches, will foster the empowerment of Bronx patient-partners, community residents among communities of color, and involve them with researchers and stakeholders to conduct ethically sound community-based research. CERA will develop a cadre of community residents and patient-partners who can collaborate as full and equal partners with academic and professional researchers, thereby building community capacity and infrastructure to improve the quality and validity of research on health inequities.

Objectives: The long-term objective for CERA is to increase health research literacy, and engage and empower Bronx communities of color and major stakeholders to understand why it is important to become involved in research dealing with health concerns that impact their health and well-being. The project also seeks to identify opportunities for engagement, and provide community members with the skills and knowledge to join researchers in community-engaged research. CERA’s framework centers on four major strategies:  Communication, Engagement, Capacity Building, and Community Sustainability. The academy will recruit and train two cohorts of 15 community residents, patients, caregivers, and stakeholders to serve as Community Experts (CE) and full partners in community-based and community-engaged research collaborations. CERA will develop support mechanisms to sustain these community experts and their engagement with research, including an interactive website, emphasizing co-learning and bidirectional communication.

Activities: Building on the BxCRRB experience, CERA will convene a steering committee of 15 members, a majority of whom are community residents, patients, caregivers, stakeholders, and community-based organizations. Working with the Bronx Health Link as fiscal sponsor and organizational support, CERA will hire a full-time Project Coordinator/Website Manager and recruit two cohorts of “Community Experts” (CE) for training on collaborative community-engaged research, and ultimately support them as full research partners. With Elevation Website Designers, CERA will develop a community-friendly, literacy/language-appropriate, and interactive website. CERA will use the Technology of Participation and graphic recorders to promote equitable and bidirectional communications in its activities. At the end of the training, CERA will sponsor a community project conceived by the community experts where they can apply the knowledge and skills learned during training.

Outcomes and Outputs: CERA will result in 30 Certified Community Experts (CE) prepared to serve as full research partners; an interactive, user-friendly website to support the communication strategy; and community project(s) conceived by the Community Experts. Community Experts will add to the Bronx communities’ resources to participate as equal partners in community-based research.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: CERA will address all levels of engagement geared to increase community of color participation in all phases of research. Building on the experience and expertise of the BxCRRB and the Bronx Health Link, outreach will again be conducted with selected Bronx Community Boards, and through community-based organizations, such as Health People, and through patient advocacy groups, such as the American Cancer Society, Bronx Breast Cancer Coalition, March of Dimes, and others. The academy’s steering committee and its subcommittees will provide direction to all CERA activities.

Project Collaborators: CERA collaborators will include its TBHL, and other CBOs, such as Health People, a peer education organization. In addition, the Bronx District Public Health Office and Lincoln Hospital and Mental Health Center have provided Letters of Support, as have the leadership of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The New York Academy of Medicine will conduct an external evaluation. Elevation Web Designers and Technology of Participation will provide consultant services.

^ Daniel Korin, MD was the original project lead for this project.

Project Information

Monique Guishard ^
Bronx Community Research Review Board (BxCRRB) / The Bronx Health Link (TBHL)

Key Dates

25 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022