The Community Advisory Council (CAC) was established in January 2018 as part of a partnership between the Center for Diversity and Health Equity’s (CDHE) Health Equity Research Program and the Institute for Translational Health Sciences (ITHS). The CAC is made up of a diverse group of individuals from community-based organizations, community coalitions and community members who are committed to diversity and inclusiveness within research. The council meets quarterly and aims to build research capacity and advance access to research within communities and among community-based organizations.

The council works with CDHE and ITHS to achieve the following goals:

  • Build research capacity within community and among community-based organizations, so that they can:
    • Engage in community-partnered research with our academic and hospital organizations.
    • Partner, lead and collaborate on research that positively impacts the community.
    • Prepare to respond to grant opportunities for community–academic research partnerships.
  • Advance access to research for communities, so that together we can:
    • Identify community priorities for health research and research participation.
    • Design strategies to help underserved populations have equitable access to research participation.
    • Identify ways to respectfully engage racially/ethnically and economically diverse communities in research.
    • Ensure that people of color and lower-income populations benefit from and are not excluded from research that could have a positive impact on their health and well-being.

The council has already partnered with researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and ITHS to create the Community Partnership Guide for Engaging With Academic Researchers. This is a three-part guide developed by the CAC to help community organizations create a plan for how to partner with academic research teams on research projects that involve their community.

  • Part 1: Screening questions to use with research teams to quickly assess whether to further explore the opportunity
  • Part 2: Providing specific ways along a continuum in which the community-based organization can engage with research team in terms of project development, partnership governance, budget and dissemination of findings
  • Part 3: A fill-in the blank memorandum of understanding for various levels of engagement along a wide continuum

The council’s next steps are to create a structured process in which community priorities and community voice can inform important research questions for community-partnered research, and to help inform research institute policies so that they are designed to enhance our ability to engage, enroll and retain diverse research participants and build a diverse research workforce.