News Center for Community Health Partnership & Research

Funding advances four community-academic partnerships, current funding round closes Dec. 6

Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health

Four projects that received Partnership Development & Sustainability Support (PDSS) from the Center for Community Health Partnership and Research are reporting successful preliminary outcomes. PDSS funding enables partners to develop the trust, infrastructure, capacity and skills needed to undertake future collaborative research. The current PDSS funding round closes Dec. 6.

Updates on four funded projects include:

Project: Building capacity for inclusive and equitable genomic medicine

Academic Partner and Community Organization: Brett Maricque, assistant professor of genetics, Washington University in St. Louis; and Black Girls Do Stem

Update: The research team worked extensively with more than 20 girls on a series of hands-on learning, mentorship, and research exploration sessions; established foundations for building capacity in genomic medicine through health equity-focused group sessions, including a book club that read and discussed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The project exposed students to many aspects of community-engaged research, including community building and recruitment, data collection, and data analysis. Long-term mentoring relationships were established with several students along with trustworthy connections between the students and Washington University institutions. The year of work culminated in an abstract accepted for oral presentation at the APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo – led by three high school students.

Project: Developing Community Partnerships to Support Neighborhood Health Data for St. Louis

Academic partners and Community Organization: Hilary Reno, associate professor of medicine, Washington University in St. Louis; Christopher Prener, assistant professor, Saint Louis University; Anne Trolard, staff scientist, Washington University in St. Louis; and the Regional Health Commission

Update: A key lesson learned from this project is that community members need to be engaged early and often during planning for any health research or program activity. The project team allocated existing funding for two to four community positions on its data governance board for the next two years. They developed a grant proposal that includes funding for community members to serve in a lead role for program planning for sexual health services and developed a mentoring program for students based at the Institute for Public Health Data & Training Center to support the sexual health data platform. The CDC awarded the project $500,000 per year for five years.

Project: Improving prison living and working conditions through Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Academic partners and Community Organization: ICTS investigator Kelli Canada, associate professor, University of Missouri – Columbia; and the Missouri Department of Corrections

Update: The project increased capacity for community-engaged research with prison staff and incarcerated individuals. With input from existing prison Innovation Advisors, the project team developed and delivered an introductory research course for staff and incarcerated people to increase the skills needed to co-create interventions, testable research questions, research projects, grants, and dissemination products. The team has co-created research questions around innovations to improve prison living and working conditions; identified grant opportunities and has submitted a peer-reviewed publication co-authored by the University of Missouri and Department of Corrections teams, and two incarcerated individuals.

Project: Developing an Equity-Focused Understanding of School Health and Engagement: Building a Research-Practice Partnership

Academic partners and Community Organization: Kelly Harris, assistant professor and Jason Jabbari, research assistant professor, and Karishma Furtado, senior scholar, Washington University in St. Louis; and, Normandy Schools Collaborative

Through this funding, the team was able to formalize their research-practice partnership and collaborative plans.  Together, they identified stakeholder questions about the intersection of behavioral health and school processes and mapped the current data infrastructure in order to identify future research needs. As a next step, they have submitted an NIH R21 grant proposal to the National Institute of Minority Health Disparities focused on improving student mental health and behavioral health in high poverty schools using community-based participatory research.    

Learn more about Partnership Development & Sustainability Support (PDSS) program and apply for the current funding cycle.

Please note the following dates:

 · PDSS applications due: December 6, 2023 5pm CT

 · Funding cycle: March 1, 2024 through February 28, 2025