Collaborative Catalyst

Connecting community partners and researchers is integral to producing more equitable research outcomes. To this end, Collaborative Catalyst is an initiative that focuses on creating or strengthening these connections through community-centered relationship building. Our goal is to foster relationships between community members and researchers who share common interests so that together research can be grounded in community priorities and trusting partnerships can arise that benefit both groups.

The Harvard Catalyst Community Engagement team hosts an initial gathering of researchers and community members who are mutually interested in a specific topic. At this event, attendees brainstorm together on pressing issues related to the topic, prioritize those issues based on interest and feasibility, and get to know one another over a shared meal.  At the suggestion of our community advisory board, we launched this initiative by hosting two initial gatherings focused on maternal health equity and youth mental health.

The group was then encouraged to continue conversations and strengthen connections made at these initial events through co-hosting coffee chats [PDF],working together on projects, inviting each other to events, and more. Follow up coffee chats co-hosted by community members and researchers are smaller gatherings focusing on a specific theme identified in the initial meeting.

We also send out a quarterly newsletter tailored to each topic group (one for maternal health equity and one for youth mental health). The newsletters include descriptions of recent Collaborative Catalyst events, spotlights on community members and researchers, upcoming events related to the field, community organization updates, research updates, and more. Check out past newsletters from either the maternal health equity or youth mental health pages.

If you would like to be added to our newsletter mailing list, submit an entry, or have questions about Collaborative Catalyst, please reach out to Kamini Mallick at