Project Summary

Background: New Haven, Connecticut is a small, diverse city with deep economic and social disparities, resulting in health disparities. In its low-income communities of color, rates of chronic disease far exceed both state and national rates. New Haven is also home to the world-renowned research enterprise of Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital. The intersection of income, race/ethnicity, and health cannot be ignored in the context of persistent health disparities, especially when considered alongside the depth of Yale’s resources. Despite a recent shift to engage stakeholders in research, Yale struggles to include New Haven’s vulnerable populations in research.

Solutions: Through the New Haven Health Leaders (NHHL) program, the project team proposes to develop a network of community stakeholders equipped to partner with Yale investigators. NHHL will be trained across the research spectrum to build the knowledge, skills, confidence, and relationships that residents need to be equitable research partners at Yale and drive forward PCOR in New Haven. NHHL is a novel approach for New Haven, as there are limited opportunities for low-income residents of color to effectively partner in research activities at Yale.

Objectives: The objective of NHHL is to train a sustainable network of community stakeholders, educated and equipped to engage in patient-centered research and implement evidence-based solutions to prevent chronic disease. The aims are to:

  • Train residents from low-income communities of color across the research spectrum on principles of PCOR and CBPR
  • Prepare and empower residents to disseminate data from Yale New Haven Hospital’s 2018 CHNA and to identify community health research priorities with other community residents
  • Cultivate resident-Yale investigator research teams to identify evidence-based practices addressing community priorities and translate practices into community settings through implementation of PCOR pilot projects


  • Health Leaders will take part in a three-part intensive training at the outset of the program
  • Health Leaders will disseminate data in their local neighborhoods, utilizing the data to identify research priorities with community residents
  • Health Leader teams will collaborate with Yale investigators to address community-identified health priorities. Teams will be supported to translate evidence-based practices into community settings through pilot projects.

Outcomes include:

  • A robust training module, based on PCORI-funded curricula
  • Training 24 Health Leaders with knowledge, skills, and confidence to participate in health outcomes research
  • Dissemination of data by Health Leaders, including presentations to residents at community meetings and identification of health priorities with residents
  • Five pilot research projects will be completed over two years by teams of residents and Yale investigators

Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) will leverage its long-standing relationship in the New Haven and Yale communities to engage stakeholders, including residents of New Haven’s historically defined low-income neighborhoods of color and Yale investigators, as well as the community at large.
Project Collaborators: The organization that will lead this project is the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, co-housed at Southern Connecticut State University and Yale School of Public Health.

Project Information

Alycia Santilli, MSW
Southern Connecticut State University

Key Dates

28 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