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A compendium of community engagement responses to the COVID-19 pandemic



Clinical and Translational Science Award Program (CTSA)-funded institutions were charged with developing clinical and translational science programs and transforming clinical research at their institutions. Community engagement (CE) was recognized as a key component and catalyst of that transformation. CE hub capacities for working with communities and translating knowledge into practice have been illustrated through their COVID-19 responses.


CE hub leaders met and discussed their CTSA's early responses regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2-hour discussion was distilled into themes which were sent to the CE hub leaders with a request for written accounts describing actions taken to engage local partners, communities, and institutions. The written reports form the basis for this compendium.


Eighteen institutions submitted written reports describing activities in relation to six themes: (1) listen to the community and respond to concerns, (2) collect data to understand the impact of COVID-19 on distinct communities and groups, (3) communicate science and address misinformation, (4) collaborate with health departments, (5) engage hubs and underrepresented populations in COVID-19 research, and (6) support our own well-being and that of others.


Bidirectional interactions comprise the foundation of CE, which requires trusted partnerships that sustain communication through a series of activities and goals. The nimble responses to the pandemic substantiate the need for CE programs to maintain the infrastructure necessary to achieve the primary CTSA goals of improving health within and across communities and localities as well as expanding research participation of community members.

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