The BU CTSI 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 several departments at BMC, including the Community Engagement team and the Health Equity Accelerator. These partnerships focus on opportunities where BU and BMC can collaborate on methods of outreach and engagement, including convening advisory boards. Partnering with Community Engagement and the Health Equity Accelerator 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.
Boston HealthNet Research Collaborative
Boston HealthNet (BHN), 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!
Patient Advisory Group
Patient Advisory Groups (PAG) are generally focused on specific patient groups, for example, cancer survivors. The BU CTSI CE Program PAG shares insight into the patient experience and provide valuable feedback on targeted materials, recruitment strategies, or results reporting. The PAG’s membership reflects the diverse communities that Boston Medical Center serves.
Health Equity in Research CAB
The Health Equity in Research Community Advisory Board is a collaboration among eight Boston leaders affiliated with community-based organizations, the Boston University (BU) Clinical Translational Science Institute and the Boston Medical Center (BMC) Clinical Research Network. The CAB supports research at BMC and BU by creating opportunities for the university, academic medical center, researchers, and community to engage in bi-directional communication about equity in research for specific projects and to promote improvements to make research more community engaged.
The community leaders reflect the diversity of Boston neighborhood demographics, job categories, types of businesses and other factors that define the groups most adversely impacted by health inequities. These members are committed to advocating for the proper allocation of resources and initiatives for their communities to address structural and social determinants of health. Click the here to Meet Our CAB Members!
The CAB meets monthly and is available for ad hoc consultations with researchers upon request. Using the Health Equity in Research Rubric, the CAB supports researchers to improve equity in their projects at any stage of the research process. Click here to view the CAB Consultation Timeline. If you are interested in having the CAB review your research project, contact Jenn Pamphile, Community Engagement Specialist of the BU CTSI CE Program at email@example.com.
- The Annual CTSI Pilot Grants offer an opportunity to fund community-engaged research. The CTSI 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. Examples of topic-specific pilot grant RFAs include:
- 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.
- To support foundational partnership activities that lead to successful collaborations on larger funding opportunities, the CE Program developed the Research Partnership Scholars Grant, funding 3 community-academic partnerships. RFA for Cycle 2 of the Research Partnership Scholars Grant will be announced in April 2023.
- 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.