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National Community Partner Forum

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National Community Partner Forum

Planning Committee
Participants, Agenda & Handouts
For More Information


Community engagement in research as central to understanding and addressing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities. Substantial federal investments are being made to support faculty members and academic institutions to engage communities and to conduct health disparities research in and with communities. Universities and academic health disparities researchers have established pathways and networks for professional development and peer support. As more community organizations enter into research partnerships with universities, and initiate and conduct their own research, it is clear that they need parallel supports. With that goal in mind, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) and the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS) proposed a National Community Partner Forum on Community-Engaged Health Disparities Research that was funded through the R13 conference grant mechanism by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities and held December 6-7, 2011 in Boston.   While there have been numerous conferences over the past few years on community-engaged research and health disparities research, none until the forum had been designed “by and for” leaders from community-based organizations (CBOs) that are partners in that research.

A national call for applications sought community partners who were committed to eliminating health disparities, willing to share their challenges and successes, and eager to both enhance their impact at a local level and contribute to a broader research and action agenda at the national level as well.  Over 400 people inquired about the forum and 145 submitted applications.  In order to maximize opportunities for dialogue, learning and action, attendance was limited to 100 people.  The committee strove for and achieved diversity in terms of participant location, race/ethnicity, gender and research experience.

During the forum, participants addressed shared concerns, exchanged knowledge, identified replicable “models that work” and made recommendations for research, practice and policy in four main areas: (a) community review of proposed research, (b) governance structures for research, (c) community engagement throughout the research process, and (d) funding the community infrastructure needed to conduct research.  Going significantly above and beyond what the organizers had envisioned as outcomes, participants determined a leadership structure for an ongoing national community partner network, formed workgroups to continue the work begun at the forum and pledged to hold another forum a year later in Washington DC.


Community-Campus Partnerships for Health: A national non-profit organization founded in 1996, CCPH promotes health through partnerships between communities and academic institutions.   We view health broadly as physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and emphasize partnership approaches to health that focus on changing the conditions and environments in which people live, work and play.  Our strategic goals are to:

  • Leverage the knowledge, wisdom and experience in communities and in academic institutions to solve pressing health, social, environmental and economic challenges
  • Ensure that community-driven social change is central to the work of community-academic partnerships
  • Build the capacity of communities and academic institutions to engage each other in partnerships that balance power, share resources, and work towards systems change

Our members - a diverse group of over 2,000 individuals affiliated with community organizations, colleges and universities, health care delivery systems, student service organizations, foundations and government - are advancing these goals in their work on a daily basis.  CCPH is governed by a 12-member board of directors who reflect the diverse constituencies we serve. What ties us together is our commitment to social justice and our passion for the power of partnerships to transform communities and academe.  

Center for Community Health Education Research and Service: CCHERS is a community-based organization that is a community/academic partnership established in 1991 with a $6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Partnerships in Health Professions Education initiative. The partnership is comprised of Boston Medical Center, the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston University School of Medicine, Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences and an established network of fifteen community health centers (FQHC) serving the racially and ethnically diverse populations of the City. Northeastern University serves as its host institution and sustaining partner.  The mission of CCHERS is to promote the development of “academic community health centers,” that integrate education, research, and service, to influence and change health professions education; improve health care delivery; and promote health systems change to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.

National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities: Funding for the forum was made possible in part by 1R13MD006705-01 from the NIMHD, awarded to CCPH and CCHERS.  The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.  The NIMHD envisions an America in which all populations will have an equal opportunity to live long, healthy and productive lives. The agency’s mission is to promote minority health and to lead, coordinate, support, and assess the National Institutes of Health’s effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. In this effort NIMHD conducts and supports basic, clinical, social, and behavioral research, promote research infrastructure and training, fosters emerging programs, disseminates information, and reaches out to minority and other health disparity communities. 

Planning Committee

Willie Mae Bennett-Fripp, Executive Director, Committee for Boston Public Housing, Boston, MA

Grace Damio, Director of Research and Service Initiatives & Deputy Director, (NIH Export) Center for Eliminating Health Disparities Among Latinos, Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT

Elmer Freeman, Executive Director, Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS), Boston, MA

Susan Gust, Community Activist, Minneapolis, MN

Loretta Jones, Founder & CEO, Healthy African American Families, Los Angeles, CA

Alma Knows His Gun McCormick, Executive Director, Messengers for Health, Hardin, MT

Ann-Gel Palermo, Chair, Harlem Community & Academic Partnership (HCAP), New York, NY

Fernando Pineda-Reyes, Executive Director, Community, Research, Education & Awareness (CREA) Results, Denver, CO

Alex Pirie, Coordinator, Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health, c/o Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville, MA

Jean Schensul, Senior Scientist & Founding Director, Institute for Community Research, Hartford, CT

Peggy Shepard, Executive Director, WE-ACT for Environmental Justice, New York, NY

Eric Wat, Director, Research and Evaluation Unit, Special Service for Groups, Los Angeles, CA

Participants, Agenda & Handouts

Click on the title to open the corresponding document:

Participant bios

Forum agenda

Opening presentation


Click on the title to open the corresponding document or website:

Forum photo album

Forum slide presentation  - these slides were developed right after the forum so that participants could immediately begin sharing forum outcomes with colleagues back home and networks they're a part of

Forum evaluation report - this report contains information collected through handwritten evaluations turned in by participants at the end of the forum and an online evaluation emailed out to participants the next day. 


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