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A Logic Model for Community Engagement Within the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Consortium: Can We Measure What We Model?

Eder, Milton “Mickey PhD; Carter-Edwards, Lori PhD; Hurd, Thelma C. MD; Rumala, Bernice B. PhD; Wallerstein, Nina DrPH

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829b54ae

The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) initiative calls on academic health centers to engage communities around a clinical research relationship measured ultimately in terms of public health. Among a few initiatives involving university accountability for advancing public interests, a small CTSA workgroup devised a community engagement (CE) logic model that organizes common activities within a university–community infrastructure to facilitate CE in research. Whereas the model focuses on the range of institutional CE inputs, it purposefully does not include an approach for assessing how CE influences research implementation and outcomes. Rather, with communities and individuals beginning to transition into new research roles, this article emphasizes studying CE through specific relationship types and assessing how expanded research teams contribute to the full spectrum of translational science.

The authors propose a typology consisting of three relationship types—engagement, collaboration, and shared leadership—to provide a foundation for investigating community–academic contributions to the new CTSA research paradigm. The typology shifts attention from specific community–academic activities and, instead, encourages analyses focused on measuring the strength of relationships through variables like synergy and trust. The collaborative study of CE relationships will inform an understanding of CTSA infrastructure development in support of translational research and its goal, which is expressed in the logic model: better science, better answers, better population health.

Dr. Eder is director of research and evaluation, Access Community Health Network (a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers), Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Carter-Edwards is deputy director of research and operations, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and research associate professor of health behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. While preparing this article, she also was research assistant professor, Division of Community Health, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Hurd is associate professor of surgery, Department of Surgery–Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Rumala is visiting research scholar, Columbia University, Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education, New York, New York. While preparing this article, she was a community engagement specialist, Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and codirector, SPARC Tri-Institutional Diversity Program, Rockefeller University, New York, New York.

Dr. Wallerstein is professor, Public Health Program, Department of Family and Community Medicine, and director, Center for Participatory Research, Office of Community Health, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Acknowledgments: The authors wish to acknowledge and thank the following individuals who contributed to the development of this article: Syed Ahmed (Medical College of Wisconsin), Nancy Bennett (University of Rochester), Giselle Corbie-Smith (University of North Carolina), Carol Ferrans (University of Illinois–Chicago), Ellen Goldstein (University of California San Francisco), Karen Hacker (Harvard University), Jan Hogle (University of Wisconsin–Madison), Katherine Kaufer Christoffel (Northwestern University), Susan Lyons (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Donna Jo McCloskey (NIH/NINR), Lloyd Michener (Duke University), Mary Anne McDonald (Duke University), and Kathleen Stevens (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio). With appreciation to all the Outcomes Workgroup participants for contributing to the exchange of ideas and to the Booz Allen Hamilton Project Managers (Jenna Goldstein, Allison Heiser, Valerie Kokai, Nicole Morales) and the Vanderbilt University CTSA Coordinating Center (Leslie Boone) for their indispensable assistance throughout the development of this article.

Funding/Support: This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program (CTSA), part of the Roadmap Initiative, Re-Engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise. Support was provided by the Institute for Translational Medicine, University of Chicago (#UL1RR024999 and #UL1TR000430); the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina (Centers for Disease Control Cooperative Agreement #U48-DP001944); the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, Duke University (#UL1RR024128); the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (#UL1RR025767); the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Rockefeller University (#UL1RR024143); and the Clinical and Translational Science Center, University of New Mexico (#UL1RR031977). This article was also supported in part by Cooperative Agreement Number U48-DP001944 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other disclosures: The manuscript was approved by the CTSA Consortium Publications Committee.

Ethical approval: Not applicable.

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Eder, Access Community Health Network, 600 W. Fulton St., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60661; telephone: (312) 526-2116; e-mail:

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges