The Community Engagement Core seeks to increase community agency capacity to utilize technology and to participate in research.
Both community agencies and researchers can benefit from partnerships that bring together resources to investigate new more effective interventions. Benefits to the agencies include training on evidence based treatments and assessment tools, and the utilization of data to identify ways of improving service outcomes. Such collaborations can also increase the agencies standing as possible grantees. Benefits to the researchers include gaining the insight of front-line providers and conducting research that is more ecologically valid.
We seek to improve the research and research utilization capacity of community agencies that wish to participate in such research.
One way we can do this is to create agency mentoring teams in which agencies more experienced in health disparities research and in the implementation of evidence-based practices can help increase the capacity of less experienced minority serving agencies that are interested in implementing evidence-based work to reduce HD.
In addition to the help that comes from the El Centro representative to the implementation team, there will be a mentoring role that the more experienced agency will take with the less experienced agency.
A second way to increase the readiness of an agency may be to link advanced students to community agencies through the implementation of student dissertations, and capstone projects that can be used as quality improvement and translational projects to move an agency to the next level of readiness and experience in research.
One of the most innovative aspects of the work of the Community Engagement Core will be to emphasize the use of technology and distance learning capabilities to facilitate engagement and dissemination in the community. Many technological advances are available that can circumvent challenges to information sharing, making technical materials attractive to the community, traditional workshops, and ongoing implementation.