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Community Engagement

The UR CTSI is dedicated to engaging the community at all stages of research. Community engagement helps health research address community needs and is a philosophy that supports partnership between community and academics to develop strategies that address those needs. At the UR CTSI, we train researchers and community members to work together and provide funding to support and advance these partnerships.

Jump to: Education | Funding & Awards | Services | Centers & Committees


Community Health Equity Research Priorities

In 2021, members of the UR CTSI worked with community partners to identify five top priority health issues and inequities impacting the Rochester and Finger Lakes region. Our goal is to address each of these issues through focused research. Learn more about our community's top health priorities. 

Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles for Community-Engaged Research were developed by the University of Rochester Medical Center's Community Advisory Board and were approved in 2008.


Community-Based Participatory Research Training Program

In this free program, University of Rochester researchers and community members will learn how to conduct research that involves recipients of interventions in all phases of the research process. Learn more about the CBPR Training Program.

Structural Racism in Healthcare and Research Course

Explore how a history of racism has shaped the relationships between doctors/researchers and patients/research participants who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). In this free program, University of Rochester researchers and community members will learn that racism, and not race, causes health disparities. Learn more about the Structural Racism in Healthcare and Research Course.

Community Engagement in Research and Population Health Online Course

Explore the importance of engaging community as researchers, educators and managers to improve the health of the population. In this free, online course, participants will learn about the changing health system landscape, how delivery systems work together to plan health improvement, and how effective community-based participation in research and intervention is crucial to develop effective solutions. Visit Coursera to enroll.

Funding & Awards

Community Health Mini-Grant Program

These one-time grants of up to $2,000 support the development, reinforcement or evaluation of research partnerships between the University of Rochester and surrounding community. Learn more about the Mini-Grant Program.

Community-Based Participatory Research Pathway-to-Pilot Awards

This $15,000 grant supports University of Rochester-community teams with experience conducting community-based participatory research, so they may compete for further pilot or external funding. Learn more about the CBPR Pathway-to-Pilot Awards.

Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards

The Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards recognizes URMC faculty and staff for significant contributions to the health of the community through research, teaching, practice, and/or service programs. Learn more about the Satcher Awards


Community Engagement Consultations

The UR CTSI and Center for Community Health & Prevention offer a variety of consultations services to ensure researchers have the support they need to develop and conduct studies in the community. Request a consultation.

Community Engagement Studios

These studios provide a structured forum for researchers to gain valuable patient or community insight on their research and have the potential to transform the way the community and investigators work together. Learn more about Community Engagement Studios.

Integrating Special Populations Consultations

The UR CTSI can help you integrate special populations – like those distinguished by race, ethnicity, language, disability, or socioeconomic status – into your research teams or health research studies. Learn about integrating special populations.

Centers & Committees

National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR)

This CDC-funded Prevention Research Center works with Deaf ASL users and people with acquired hearing loss to promote health and prevent disease using a community-based participatory research approach. Learn more about NCDHR.

Community Advisory Council

This council represents the voice of the community to guide and support education, research, patient care and community health efforts at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Learn more about the Advisory Council.

Population Health Coordinating Committee

This interdisciplinary group collaborates with clinical and community service programs across the university to advance research and education programs in population health and community engagement. Learn more about PHCC.

Community Engagement Function Team

John Cullen, Ph.D., Community Engagement Function Leader, Professor in the UR CTSI and Center for Community Health & Prevention, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the UR CTSI and Associate Director in the Susan B. Anthony Center

Theresa Green, Ph.D., M.B.A., Community Engagement Education Coordinator and Director of Community Health Policy and Education

Kathleen Holt, Ph.D., Community Engagement  Senior Scientist

Silvia Sorensen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Human Development in the Warner School of Education, Center for Community Health & Prevention and the Department of Ophthalmology

Laura Sugarwala, M.B.A., R.D.Director of Community Health Partnerships at the Center for Community Health & Prevention