Engaging the underserved: A process model to mobilize rural community health coalitions as partners in translational research

Melinda M. Davis, Susan Aromaa, Paul B. McGinnis, Katrina Ramsey, Nancy Rollins, Jamie Smith, Beth Ann Beamer, David I. Buckley, Kurt C. Stange, Lyle J. Fagnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: Community engagement (CE) and community-engaged research (CEnR) are increasingly recognized as critical elements in research translation. Process models to develop CEnR partnerships in rural and underserved communities are needed. Method: Academic partners transformed four established Community Health Improvement Partnerships (CHIPs) into Community Health Improvement and Research Partnerships (CHIRPs). The intervention consisted of three elements: an academic-community kickoff/orientation meeting, delivery of eight research training modules to CHIRP members, and local community-based participatory research (CBPR) pilot studies addressing childhood obesity. We conducted a mixed methods analysis of pre-/postsurveys, interviews, session evaluations, observational field notes, and attendance logs to evaluate intervention effectiveness and acceptability. Results: Forty-nine community members participated; most (78.7%) attended five or more research training sessions. Session quality and usefulness was high. Community members reported significant increases in their confidence for participating in all phases of research (e.g., formulating research questions, selecting research methods, writing manuscripts). All CHIRP groups successfully conducted CBPR pilot studies. Conclusions: The CHIRP process builds on existing infrastructure in academic and community settings to foster CEnR. Brief research training and pilot studies around community-identified health needs can enhance individual and organizational capacity to address health disparities in rural and underserved communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Translational Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Community-engaged research
  • Obesity
  • Practice-based research networks
  • Public health
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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