Innovation & improvement in public health via community engagement & research. Community Health Innovation and Research Program (CHIRP)

Program Services

Program Informational Resources

The Community Health Innovation and Research Program at Harvard Catalyst (HC-CHIRP) builds infrastructure that engages communities and speeds the adoption, integration, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based policies and practices to improve population health. HC-CHIRP applies scientific knowledge in community policy and practice, integrating participatory research, public health, and clinical strategies. An innovation of the program is its integration of student training opportunities with our research and community engagement activities. HC-CHIRP systematically matches faculty and students from across Harvard with opportunities to develop results-driven, community-based policy and practice-relevant health research that address priorities of our community partners. These matches provide outstanding learning opportunities for students, and shape the way our future scientific leaders will approach community engagement.

HC-CHIRP works in three overlapping areas of focus:

  • Public Policy Partnerships: Works with state and city public health departments to identify opportunities for translation of research and practice into policy, and provides critical research support of Harvard faculty and students to ensure that the best available scientific evidence is considered in policy development and implementation;
  • Safety Net Research Infrastructure Initiative: Builds infrastructure and capacity for quality improvement, translational research, and application of evidence to practice within community health centers that provide safety net primary care, with the goal of increasing health centers' capacity for engaging in translational research;
  • Coordinated Community Partnerships: Develops, supports, and evaluates coordinated community-based projects integrating research, policy, public health, and clinical strategies in areas of priority to our community partners.

Activities in all three areas, supported by project-specific training and technical assistance, and utilizing sound principles and best practices for community engagement, aim to increase community participation in public health planning, research, and evaluation; and assist partners in developing collaborations to adapt and apply evidence-based strategies and enhance students' skills. The HC-CHIRP Advisory Board plays a critical role in this process by representing community perspectives to guide program activity.