This year’s Delaware Clinical and Translational Research (DE-CTR) ACCEL Program Community Research Exchange focused on incorporating community engagement across and throughout the translational research spectrum, encouraging community participation at every phase of research.
“We consider the community voice as a driving force for research and incorporates that voice into the approaches to better understand the problem, to conduct the research activities, to interpret those results, and to draw conclusions in the context of shared power,” Gwendoline Angalet, PhD, CEO of GBA Consulting said during the conference. “It requires researchers to become partners with a community and community members to become members of the research team.”
The translational spectrum describes the course of medical advances from discovery through testing, implementation, and adoption by the larger medical community. During the keynote presentation, Rhonda G. Kost, MD, of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at The Rockefeller University, explained how some projects can be in various phases of the spectrum simultaneously and how community-engagement could be incorporated into the various phases.
“You don’t have to join the full spectrum right away,” Dr. Kost explained. “Learning can be incremental and community engagement can be incremental. Helping a basic scientist … to understand how giving a full spectrum translational town hall – doing that and engaging the community and just sharing what you’re doing – opens the door. It might not be this project or protocol it might be the next one, it might be incremental for that investigator.
Fellow keynote speaker, Jonathan N. Tobin, PhD, FAHA, FACE, also of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at The Rockefeller University, explained that full spectrum community-engaged research is successful when the common priorities and common reward systems of the researchers, stakeholders, and community partners are identified “and at the same time, to value and respect those differences and ensure that all of the stakeholders achieve and experience the benefits of this collaboration.”
To learn more about the community-engaged research tools available or to hear how other research projects were successful at incorporating community engagement, check out the videos below!