Enhancing translational researchers' ability to collaborate with community stakeholders: Lessons from the Community Engagement Studio

J Clin Transl Sci. 2018 Aug;2(4):201-207. doi: 10.1017/cts.2018.323. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Community engagement is considered essential to effectively translate research into practice and is increasingly recognized as a key to successful clinical trial recruitment. Challenges to engaging community stakeholders in research persist and new methods are needed to facilitate meaningful stakeholder involvement. The Community Engagement Studio (CE Studio), a consultative model, has been used at every stage of the research process. Best practices drawn from the model could inform other methods of engagement. Using a mixed-methods approach that included evaluation surveys, impact surveys and interviews, we assessed the CE Studio program. We analyzed data from 75 CE Studios; 65 researchers and 591 community members completed surveys and 10 researchers completed interviews. Surveys indicate that 100% of researchers would request a CE Studio in the future, and 99.3% of community members would participate in a CE Studio again. We identified 6 practices to enhance community engagement in clinical and translational research: early input, researcher coaching, researcher humility, balancing power, neutral facilitator, and preparation of community stakeholders. These best practices may enhance the quality of existing community engagement approaches and improve the effectiveness of translational researchers' efforts to engage community stakeholders in their work.

Keywords: Community stakeholders; community engagement; community engagement studio; patient engagement; translational researchers.