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Community Engagement Core

Community Engagement and Outreach Core
Director: PonJola Coney, M.D. and Marcie Wright, Ph.D., M.P.H.

The overarching aim of this Community Engagement and Outreach Core is to advance research on the promotion of women’s health and the prevention of preterm birth and associated infant morbidity and mortality by focusing on community participation, behavior modification, environmental and public policy changes.  It will engage members of vulnerable communities in Richmond experiencing health disparities associated with preterm birth as equal partners in the processes of conceptualizing prevention strategies which include: identification, review, and adaptation of existing materials and interventions; development and pilot testing of new interventions and materials; and the overall evaluation of Center processes and outcomes.  This academic-community partnership will utilize a   community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to effectively translate preterm birth prevention activities and research interventions into widespread practice at the community level. It is our hypothesis that community participation in research in racial/ethnic minority communities will result in new knowledge about the social and ecologic determinants of preterm birth, lead to effective interventions, and reduce health disparities associated with preterm birth.

Specific Aims:
  1. Empower the community to collaboratively partner and participate in the development, conduct, and evaluation of a preterm birth, infant morbidity and mortality prevention research agenda.
  2. Establish Health Information Resource Centers that facilitate communication and provide access to an on-line repository of community outreach and education materials on preterm birth prevention and general health issues to the community partners. 
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of CBPR methods for engaging communities where persistent health disparities exists.