Center for Health Equity


Community and stakeholder engagement studio for health equity research

Published: January 22, 2024

Group photo of HVIP Program leaders from January 2024.
First meeting with HVIP Program January 2024

Community engagement, trust, and collaboration play a key role in the Center for Health Equity's vision of a world populated by healthy people across flourishing communities developed through research.

Actively engaging community members in research plays a critical role in advancing equity for several reasons:

  • Expanding stakeholder networks
  • Achieving governance of shared power among stakeholders from health disparate communities and investigators
  • Improving the rigor of research through higher participation rates
  • Elevating insightful interpretation of findings
  • Developing and implementing culturally relevant interventions
  • Ensuring valid and reliable assessment
  • Identifying new engagement strategies.

Our Community and Stakeholder Engagement Studio (CSES) at the Center for Health Equity offers researchers a consultative service to achieve these goals.

CSES allows for effective study design, intervention planning, impactful implementation, evaluation, and sustainability to support health equity for community organizations and their research partners.

A researcher interested in conducting community-engaged research may contact the center with a request to design, implement, and evaluate the community engagement component of their research. Using the principles outlined above, the CSES team then assists in planning and designing an impactful approach to engage community members and key stakeholders around the researcher’s specified need or question.

An example of the CSES in action is the recent NIH-funded Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIP) in Houston, Texas. The Houston HVIP at Memorial Hermann Hospital – Texas Medical Center aims to break the cycle of violence through intervention, care, follow-up care, and attention to social determinants of health. More details about the project can be found here.

Principal investigators from the HVIP, Alexander Testa, PhD, and Sandra McKay, MD, utilize the Center for Health Equity’s CSES to solicit community engagement around program design and implementation.

Using the studio’s structured process, the Center for Health Equity team, Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD, Anne Marie Thompson, MPH, CHES, CLC, and Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH, have brought together a community advisory board to provide tangible expertise to this project, creating trust and communication with the community, and fostering cooperation between study researchers and community partners. This holistic approach utilizes a health-equity lens and considers multiple perspectives, including gun violence victims, health care providers, and community intervention specialists.     

Contact Anne Marie Thompson to learn more about the CSES and how to incorporate it into your research.