Students conduct research with traditionally underserved populations. The goal is to provide students with training and experience in community-engaged research (CEnR). We also anticipate enriching the capacity of the service-learning program to conduct other community-based research.

Specifically, students will participate in research assessing barriers to effective CEnR among public housing residents during the conduct of substance use research. During the course of the project, we will also build community capacity by assisting with the training of community health workers (CHWs) and the development of a public housing resident community advisory board (CAB).

The project is motivated by the idea that CEnR promotes the ethical conduct of research that benefits both communities and individuals. In other words, we might have an obligation to engage the communities upon which we base our research. This is especially true if those communities are traditionally marginalized and exhibit disparate health outcomes. Students participating in the program will take short courses on health disparities, CEnR, responsible conduct of research and qualitative research methods. Coursework on health disparities and CEnR will focus heavily on the ethical justification for conducting efficacious research to address the health needs of individuals from traditionally underserved populations.

During the academic year, service-learning activities will primarily revolve around assisting with CHW and CAB training and support of the ongoing research project. There will be an opportunity for a funded summer research experience between the first and second year, during which students will receive formal training, work with community members to identify suitable projects (which can feature CHW involvement, e.g., by partnering with CHWs with experience conducting door-to-door surveys in their communities) and then develop proposals to submit to the CAB for feedback. Ideally, these student proposals would be developed into their capstone projects.

For more information, contact Service Learning.