Bridging Community- Academic Partnerships
The BU Community Engagement Program is rooted in the belief that partnership development is a continuous process. Our partnership activities are rooted in the Index of Community Engagement Techniques, which organizes engagement into 5 categories:
Our partnership activities include
- Convening a Community Advisory Board representative of our neighboring communities and the communities we serve
- Patient Advisory Groups comprised of patients with similar diagnoses or conditions
- Pilot funding to support community-engaged researchers in their research activities
- Hosting community forums
- Consultations with community partners
- Being active participants in community events and meetings
Boston Medical Center
As the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center is a key partner of the Community Engagement Program. Located in Boston’s South End neighborhood, Boston Medical Center (BMC) is the largest Safety-Net Hospital in New England. BMC serves all patients, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Over half of BMC patients are from an underserved population, and about a third are non-native English speakers.
- The CE Program has established partnerships with many departments at BMC, including . This partnership focuses on opportunities where BU and BMC can collaborate on methods of outreach and engagement, including convening advisory boards. Partnering with Community Engagement and External Affairs ensures that all Boston communities are engaged in our work.
- The CE Program works collaboratively with the BMC Clinical Trial Office (CTO) and its Clinical Research Network (CRN). These partnerships focus on methods for the successful engagement of diverse populations in clinical research trials.
is an integrated health care system consisting of Boston Medical Center and 11 Community Health Centers dedicated to improving the health of Boston’s low-income and minority populations. BHN ensures access to high-quality care and cutting-edge technology across the care continuum of primary, specialty, and tertiary healthcare services. BHN focuses on maintaining individualized and culturally sensitive care throughout Boston’s local neighborhoods through disease prevention and health education tailored for the most vulnerable populations.
The BU CTSI Community Engagement Program supports research collaboration with the Boston HealthNet Community Health Centers. Click here for more information about the research collaboration process.
Boston University School of Social Work
The Boston University Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health is a program within the BU School of Social Work that is dedicated to expanding the impact of social work in health care and public health. The program’s goal of improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations aligns with the CE Program’s mission. Dr. Sprague Martinez, the CE Program Co-Director, leads the BU team of the Black Women First Initiative project, focused on improving care interventions for Black women with HIV.
Massachusetts CTSA Community Engagement Collaborative
The BU CTSI is one of four federally-funded Clinical and Translational Science programs in Massachusetts. All four Massachusetts Clinical Translational Science Award University, Harvard University, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts) convene regularly to share programs, strategies, and progress in each of their Community Engagement initiatives, and to also collaborate on programs that benefit greater Boston and Massachusetts communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the MA CTSA Hubs hosted a joint webinar on COVID and Equitable Vaccine Distribution for communities. Currently, the four MA CTSA Hubs together lead the TRIP study. Read more about the TRIP Study below!
The Community Engagement Program is developing a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to provide strategic guidance to the Program and recommendations for community-engaged approaches to researchers at Boston University and Boston Medical Center. The CAB will be comprised of members who represent Boston neighborhoods and communities, in particular those surrounding Boston Medical Center. CAB members will advocate for their community, create bridges between their community and research, and share ideas to improve the usefulness of research for their community. For more information about the CAB or to apply to be a member of the CAB, please email the manager of the Community Engagement Program, Dema Hakim at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow this link.
Patient Advisory Groups are generally focused on specific patient groups, for example, cancer survivors. Patient Advisory Groups provide valuable feedback on targeted materials, recruitment strategies, or results reporting.
- The CTSI issues Pilot Grants for community-engaged research on an annual basis and will also issue special pilot grants to address specific questions raised by community members. Through networking, partnerships, and structured data collection the Community Engagement Program listens to and learns from the community to build on their strengths and find solutions for challenges. When community partners expressed concern about being able to conduct a successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), the Community Engagement Program worked with CTSI leadership to develop a RFA for vaccine hesitancy. The goal of the RFA was to provide a timely and actionable COVID-19 vaccination campaign for Boston Medical Center’s BIPOC communities and for other health systems that serve similar populations.
- Exemplar community-academic research partnerships: The CE Program team members are engaged in several multi-center national studies of community-engaged research. Two of these studies are the HEALing Communities Study, and TRIP.
- The HEALing (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Communities Study is designed to study tools to prevent and treat opioid misuse and Opioid Use Disorder at the local level. Boston University joins universities in Kentucky, Ohio, and New York to meet the goal of reducing opioid-related overdose deaths by 40% over three years. BU and BMC have partnered with communities in Bourne & Sandwich, Brockton, Gloucester, Holyoke, Lowell, Plymouth, Salem, and Shirley & Townsend to have an ongoing relationship to ensure that knowledge gained from the study impacts these communities. Read one of the HEALing Communities papers here.
- Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) is a study focused on improving the quality of delivery of breast cancer care. More specifically, TRIP aims to address barriers to care and reduce delays in time to treatment for African American women in Boston through a coordinated care delivery model that includes a Patient Navigation network, a shared regional patient registry, and screening and referrals for social determinants of health. BU is one of the four MA CTSA Hubs (Harvard, Tufts, and UMass) leading the TRIP Study. TRIP has partnered with the Boston Breast Cancer Equity Coalition and 6 Boston Hospitals to conduct the study.