Our Team


Astraea Augsberger, PhD, MSW, Director 

Astraea Augsberger is the Director of Community Engagement (CE) for Boston University’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute. She is also an Associate Professor at Boston University School of Social Work and an affiliated faculty member at the BU Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health. Her research program, which has been shaped by over fifteen years of clinical social work practice experience, examines multi-level factors that inhibit or facilitate a person’s ability to participate in decision-making within multiple institutions including health care, child welfare, education, and municipal government. She employs communityengaged research (CEnR) approaches such as youth participatory action research(YPAR) and in-depth qualitative research methods to elevate the voices of youth and communities in identifying research priorities and solutions to community concerns. She is a nationally recognized expert in youth and family engagement strategies, including the development, implementation and evaluation of youth advisory boards. Read more

Rebecca Lobb, ScD, MPH, Director of Integration and Strategic Partnerships

Rebecca Lobb is the Director of Integration and Strategic Partnerships with the Community Engagement Program for Boston University’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute. She has extensive experience in community-engaged research collaborations with community-based organizations, public health departments, healthcare organizations, and resident groups to develop sustainable cancer control programs for vulnerable populations. Read more

Deborah Chassler, MSW, Curriculum and Training Lead

Deborah Chassler is the Curriculum and Training Lead for the Community Engagement Program of Boston University’s Clinical & Translational Science Institute. Her work with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is focused on building capacity on both sides of academic and community partnerships. As the Curriculum and Training Lead, Deborah ensures that the CTSI Community Engagement Core is able to successfully build excellent curriculum and provide training for faculty and institutional partners as well as members of a wide range of communities. Deborah also teaches at Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW), including an advanced seminar on Behavioral Health focused on the intersections of policy and practice and impacts on those most harmed by existing policies and systems, and has previously taught the Racial Justice and Cultural Oppressions Course for years, as well as research methods courses. Her work centers community engagement and harm reduction, both social justice approaches, often working with communities of people who use drugs. Deborah’s research is focused on building capacity and working with communities to name and mitigate the harms of existing health systems to generate innovative, out-of-the-box, institutional and systemic change.

Jorma McSwiggan, MSc, Research Program Manager

Jorma McSwiggan is a Research Program Manager for the Community Engagement Program ofBoston University’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute. Jorma works with CTSI’s leadership and Community Engagement team to align activities and ensure that the CE Program’s resources and services reach our community members and researchers. Before joining the BU CTSI team, they were part of the Community Operations team with the HEALing Communities Study at Boston Medical Center. In this role, Jorma combined operations and project management skills with community-engaged approaches to support teams across Massachusetts in identifying and establishing strategies to reduce fatal overdose. Jormagraduated from Boston University School of Public Health with a Master’s degree in Health Services and Systems Research, focusing on qualitative methods, community engagement, and organizational theory. Jorma was a 2022 Honorable Mention Research to Practice APHA awardee.

Kareem King, BA, Research Program Manager

Kareem King is the Research Program Manager for the Community Engagement Program of Boston University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. He works with CTSI leadership, the Advancing Equity in Health Research Community Advisory Board (CAB), and the Boston Healthnet (BHN) Research Collaborative to ensure underserved communities have a voice in ongoing research projects and processes at Boston University and Boston Medical Center. Previously, he served as Co-Principal Investigator for an NIH-funded initiative to provide persons experiencing homelessness with access to COVID-19 information and wrap-around services during the pandemic. He also has extensive experience engaging with underserved populations to build sustainable public health programs, through his work with the We Got Us Empowerment Project. Kareem received his Bachelor’s Degree in the History of Science and a minor in Global Health and Health Policy from Harvard University.