CERI Hosts First Population Health Improvement Awards Community Research Forum

November 25, 2019

Drs. Faye Calhoun and Leonor Corsino

On November 15, 2019 CERI  hosted its first Population Health Improvement (PHI) Awards Community Research Forum at the Community Family Life and Recreation Center at Lyon Park. The event recognized research pilot award recipients and the research milestones and accomplishments achieved as a result of the funding.

The forum featured a keynote address from Dr. Luke Smith, executive director of El Futuro, a mental health clinic for Spanish-speaking community members in Durham. Dr. Smith’s talk focused on how researchers can conduct better work by listening to and collaborating with communities.

The research presentations, which were moderated by CERI Co-Directors Drs. Leonor Corsino, Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, and Jennifer Gierisch, focused on a wide range of issues impacting the Durham community. An audience of around 50 people heard about research projects involving Community Health Workers in implementing smoking cessation programs in public housing, mental and physical health correlating to eviction from public housing, PrEp care for HIV prevention in black men who have sex with men, determining barriers to use of an effective treatment to prevent pre-term labor, and opportunities for disease prevention in emerging adulthood.

Community investigators from Lincoln Community Health Center, Triangle Empowerment Center, the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, Durham Housing Authority, Durham County Department of Health, North Carolina Central University, and Durham Technical Community College co-presented study findings with their Duke research partners and participated in the lively post-talk Q&A sessions.

An afternoon panel of community investigators spoke about some of the benefits and challenges of partnering with a large academic institution such as Duke. Dr. Kelley Massengale, Director of Research with the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, said that one of the reasons that her organization chooses to partner with Duke is because “research helps tell the story.”

And it’s for that particular reason that CERI held this inaugural event. “We really wanted to bring the community and academic research partners together to share the results of their work with the broader Durham community and with each other, Our PHI Awardees are doing amazing work and it’s important that they have opportunities like this to share results, hear from stakeholders, and network with each other,” says Eve Marion, CERI Research Program Leader and Program Officer for the awards.

CERI plans to build on the success of this inaugural event and host the Forum again next fall. And in response to the 2020 PHI Awards Request for Applications (RFA), the grant cycle is again underway. Letters of Intent are currently being reviewed, and selected research partnerships will be invited to submit full proposals by the end of March.