Highlights

Consultations & Trainings for Community Impact

Our team specializes in community-engaged research, dissemination and implementation science, mixed methods, and policy translation capacity building and offers one-on-one consultations and trainings to researchers and community stakeholders interested in learning more about these approaches. Request a consult by emailing community@catalyst.harvard.edu.

Strategic Science Seminars

These seminars help investigators learn how to ask the right questions for T4 policy- and program-related decisions, improving and enhancing research projects that can translate discovery into public health policy and program implementation that improves outcomes and reduces disparities. We also sponsor and facilitate an Implementation Science Working Group that meets regularly to explore research in implementation and identify gap areas where research could focus.

Community Engagement Studios

The Community Engagement program works with researchers to enhance research projects by engaging stakeholders with unique expertise and experience. These community engagement studios, which are offered nationally throughout the CTSA consortium, provide researchers with a real-time, in-person opportunity to share their research concepts and goals with patients, families, caregivers, advocates, clinicians, policymakers, community members, and other stakeholders, and to receive direct feedback and guidance via a facilitated conversation. Studios are integrated into the program’s pilot grant application process and are available as a service to research programs and centers on a case-by-case basis. Please email community@catalyst.harvard.edu for more information.

Community Coalition for Equity in Research

The coalition serves as both a source for high quality community input on research proposals and protocols as well as a trusted communication channel between researchers and community stakeholders. The overarching goals of the coalition are to build community voice and considerations for health equity into clinical research and strengthen community-academic relationships throughout Massachusetts.

Pilot Grants

Harvard Catalyst offers funding opportunities through the Community Engagement program for research focused on program priority areas conducted in collaboration with community stakeholders.

Policy Atlas

Free database of health policy resources designed to facilitate policy research by making data accessible and easily searchable. Users can explore more than 100 health policy resources on topics ranging from health laws and bills, to health disparities, to social and environmental determinants of health.

Overview

The Community Engagement program seeks to increase the pace of adoption of evidence-based programs and policies to promote health, prevent disease, and eliminate disparities. In alignment with community-identified needs and interests, we employ a combination of implementation science, policy research, and community partnerships. The program works to create mechanisms for high-quality engagement with community and policy stakeholders, partnering with collaborators to identify opportunities for accelerating population-level outcomes while providing robust research and training opportunities in community translation and increasing the pipeline of well-trained individuals interested in this field.

The program’s Community Advisory Board plays a critical role in representing community perspectives to guide program activity.

Key Areas of Focus

Improving Child Health
The Community Engagement Program helps to advance research that promotes evidence-based practices and policies around achieving healthy weight in children. To do this, we utilize dissemination and implementation science, while enhancing collaboration between academia and community. One example is a symposium we hosted on October 1, 2018, that brought together approximately 100 academic, clinical, educational, policy, and community stakeholders to share innovative models and ideas on supporting healthy child weight. In response to the feedback generated at this symposium,  a funding opportunity was provided distributing resources for two pilots focused on promoting child healthy weight via early childcare programs and WIC.

Promoting Cancer Screening and Prevention
Working closely with our hospital and community partners, we identify ways to leverage quality metrics and patient/parent/provider education to increase cancer screening, promote healthy behavior linked to cancer prevention, and encourage cancer-related vaccination.

Identifying and Addressing Emerging Public Health Priorities
We work collaboratively with community and policy stakeholders, as well as partners, to identify the most pressing public health priorities facing residents of Boston and the broader Commonwealth. Through engagement with researchers and teams, we help define specific research questions that can be translated into effective evidence-based public health policy and programmatic solutions. Currently, this work focuses on addressing issues of homelessness as well as health inequities emerging from the COVID-19 epidemic.