People and Communities

Community-engaged research brings people in local communities into the research process, especially people who will benefit from or be impacted by the research. The idea is that people and communities become equal partners in how the study is designed, conducted, analyzed, and shared with the world. Ongoing dialogue ensures that the communities' beliefs, cultures, languages, needs, and strengths are woven throughout the study’s process.  

Group of people with one hand in middle in-focus.

People from the community bring their lived experiences, needs, and strengths to these studies to:

  • Craft research questions and inform other specific study details. 
  • Collect research data using community-informed strategies to engage participants and get meaningful data.
  • Advise on policies and decisions related to safe and effective conduct of the research.  
  • Co-create interventions or programs that have a good fit with the community. 
  • Design appropriate materials tailored to specific cultures and languages. 
  • Analyze and report data in ways that acknowledge unique strengths and challenges within specific populations and are understandable to community audiences.

Benefits of Community-Engaged Research

Community-engaged research can:

  • Address health disparities by making sure the strategies and interventions studied speak to and meet the needs of the people most affected by the topics being addressed.
  • Build trust in science by including people from the community as equal partners from the start through the end of research studies.
  • Improve health knowledge by working with trusted messengers to address questions, worries, or fears in the community.

Importance of Inclusion

CEAL research involves people with different backgrounds and lived experiences. Culture, language, family history, where and how one lives or works, past exposures, and risk of future exposures are just some factors that can impact how well a program or intervention will function.  

CEAL is aligned with the conceptual model for community engagement published by the National Academy of Medicine.