The University of Pittsburgh is establishing a neighborhood-embedded community engagement center (CEC) in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Guided by a resident and community leader advisory council, the CEC is being developed as a physical facility within a federally qualified health center (FQHC) provider–owned 13,000-square-foot building. The CEC, adjacent to the Alma Illery Medical Center, will house researchers, engagement projects, and interprofessional education efforts from our schools of rehabilitative sciences, nursing, pharmacy, dental medicine, and medicine.
Homewood, an African-American neighborhood, has strong leaders but also significant distress, including up to a 53 percent vacant or uninhabitable property rate, the eighth-highest average crime rate in a city of 90 neighborhoods, and the second-highest infant mortality rate within the city (Pittsburgh Neighborhood Distress & Health Study). These symptoms are often accompanied by chronic disease states, which disproportionately affect Pittsburgh’s African-American residents.
Given the extensive stakeholder engagement to this point, strong community leadership in Homewood, and the emerging partnership with the local FQHC, we can now forge a community-located infrastructure that will explore patient-centered outcomes in chronic disease state management. The PCORI Tier A Cycle 1 P2P funding will create a partnership infrastructure to develop a patient-centered outcomes research agenda in chronic disease state management (including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma, along with associated muscular-skeletal complaints, behavioral health, and medication management complications). The P2P grant will shape the research conducted through the CEC by helping us create a participatory research agenda and infrastructure in concert with patients and local providers.