News Center for Community Health Partnership & Research

Center offers “Measures for Community Engagement”, March 16th

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

“Academic-community engagement can mean anything from community education and outreach activities, to being on a community advisory board, to community-based participatory research with community members involved in all aspects of the work.”

Vetta Sanders Thompson, co-Director of the Center for Community Health Partnership and Research

The Institute’s Center for Community Health Partnership and Research continues to facilitate important academic-community partnerships and to help educate researchers in fortifying these relationships with its Know Your Level of Community Engagement Series.

Researchers interested in conducting and measuring community engagement can virtually join the center on March 16 from 11:30-12:30 for its next Know Your Level event, “Measures of Community Engagement.” This session features speakers:

  • Melody Goodman, MS, PhD, the associate dean for research and associate professor of biostatistics, in the School of Global Public Health at New York University;
  • Vetta Sanders Thompson, PhD, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at Washington University in St. Louis; and,
  • Nicole Ackermann, MPH, Washington University staff scientist in the Division of Public Health Sciences

According to Sanders Thompson, “Community, stakeholder and patient engagement are increasingly recognized as strategic components of research designed to improve patient outcomes, reduce disparities in health, as well as improve implementation and dissemination of important treatments and interventions.”

She adds that many researchers assess engagement using qualitative methods, but this strategy only goes so far. Rigorous evaluation of the impact of stakeholder engagement on research development, implementation and outcomes requires the development and validation of tools that assess engagement. This session introduces quantitative tools that facilitate this effort.

The center has developed one such tool, currently available to all, the Community-Engaged Research Guide. Provided on the Becker Medical Library site, a new section of the guide provides journal articles, and other materials that describe research efforts to measure engagement, and several quantitative measures of patient, community and stakeholder engagement.

“The ability to measure and demonstrate the impact of patient, community and stakeholder engagement is the next step in elevating academic-community partnerships and is key for researchers beginning or continuing this work,” says Sanders Thompson. 

The free Know Your Level event will also elaborate on the development and function of the Goodman, Thompson, Ackermann & Bowen Research Engagement Survey Tool (REST) Measure. Attendees will be able to apply knowledge gained from the measures discussed to develop stronger community-academic partnerships.