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Alliance’s patient engagement efforts lauded

Jan. 30, 2014, 9:32 AM

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core received national recognition for its development of community review boards to strengthen patient-centered research.

One is an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Learning Health System Challenge Award for “The Community Review Board: Strengthening Research Capacity through Community Engagement.”

The other is a three-year, $837,000 contract with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to improve “patient engagement and understanding its impact on research through community review boards.”

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that provides patients, their caregivers and clinicians with evidence-based information to make better-informed health care decisions.

The PCORI contract “is a wonderful opportunity for us to be leaders in patient and stakeholder engagement and to advance the field of patient-centered outcomes research,” said Consuelo Wilkins, M.D., MSCI, executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance,

Similarly, the AAMC award recognizes innovations in medical education, care delivery, research and diversity and inclusion, Wilkins said.

It also acknowledges institutions that have implemented or wish to enhance capacity of innovative, system-wide processes that improve the opportunity for research within one or more of three research areas, including quality improvement, health equity and research using data from electronic health records.

The Community Review Board, now called the Community Engagement Studio, has the potential to improve research in all three targeted areas, Wilkins said.

“In addition to a trophy and a cash prize, the AAMC will host a webinar featuring our program,” she said. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to share our innovative approach to community engagement with other medical centers around the nation.”

The Community Engagement Studio allows researchers to obtain direct input from representative groups to enhance their research questions, design, implementation, translation and/or dissemination.

“We have worked for several years to develop and refine this mechanism for community engagement,” said Yvonne Joosten, executive director of the Office of Engagement and manager of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core.

“We are indebted to the patients and community members who have made the Community Engagement Studio a success,” she said.

by Jessica Pasley and Bill Snyder

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