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Community Research to Action Grants

The CRA sponsors two types of grants.

The UCONN – DPHS/CRA Seed Grant program is a competition that supports one small grant of approximately $20,000 each year to a DPHS faculty member or faculty affiliate, and a community partner or partners for formative or pilot intervention research to address a significant community need. The emphasis is on economically or otherwise marginalized communities. The direction should arise from widespread community need. The community partner is expected to hold equal PI status with the faculty member and to collaborate in all aspects of the research. The grant is submitted through UCONN-DPHS, supported by an endowment held by the Department, and administration is coordinated by the Department chair and the CRA Chair. It has a duration of 18 months and it is expected to provide the basis for an NIH or other government grant in the future. Grants were awarded in 2021 and 2022 (see links for abstracts). Additional grants may be announced in the future. For more information contact Douglas Brugge, Ph.D., Department chair (brugge@uchc.edu) or Jean Schensul, Ph.D. (jean.schensul@icrweb.org).

The CRA mini-grant program. The mini-grant program initiated in 2022 with a one-year grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving through the Institute for Community Research. The mini-grant program is part of the Power through Research training program for community-based organizations (click link for that description). Organizations participating in the 10-session training program on cost effective and sustainable approaches to understanding constituencies for better program planning and advocacy, are eligible for up to $2000 each. With this funding they can pilot one or more research methods, with a common program goal. The program will continue subject to continued funding.


Research Training, Curricula and Workshops


For the past ten years the CRA has been developing curricula to engage community- based organizations in participatory health research with faculty or other professional researchers. Materials developed include:

1. Introduction to Community based participatory research training (link). This curriculum introduces community-based organizations to participatory work with professional researchers to address health problems. It also orients faculty to CBPR (there is a slide series for this.)


2. Introduction to network research in community settings (will provide). This set of videos introduces community-based organizations and researchers to various approaches to network research useful in understanding how information and interventions diffuse through

communities, and how to use connections for recruitment, education and promotion of advocacy.



3. Introduction to clinical trials for CBOs to introduce clinical trial opportunities to people excluded or suspicious of medical research but who could benefit from them. (link) This curriculum is designed by a team of community and UCONN faculty researchers to help community-based organizations understand how clinical trials work, what clinical trials might be available for their constituencies at local universities, and how to judge whether the clinical trial environment is appropriate for a diverse population of recruits. It is also to assist trial researchers to prepare a welcoming and supportive environment for community residents from marginalized communities to volunteer for clinical trials.


4. Introduction to alternative approaches to rapid health related assessment methods to assist CBOs to improve their programs, understand their clients better and use the information for advocacy on their behalf. (put up final program for the CRA training). This series of ten- workshops program for community-based organizations introduces them to systems thinking, structural and social determinants of health, and ways of developing conceptual models that move beyond individual need to seeing clients as part of a larger community and system. It includes various forms of rapid assessment (eco and body mapping, GIS mapping to show distribution of health problems and inequities, brief interviews, utility of individual and community timelines, use of photographs and video, and use of elicitation approaches). The program introduces realistic ways of thinking about program evaluations and outcomes, telling a story with different forms of data, and why building alliances is so important. The program will continue with continued funding and will be available online in the future.


5. Guides for the development of Community research partnerships and community health priorities.


Guidelines for Community-university partnership research. These guidelines were developed in a series of meetings with CBOs and vetted with faculty from the University of Connecticut (UCONN Health and Storrs Campus), University of St. Joseph and the University of Hartford, with CBPR experts on the faculty. Methods for developing these guidelines are available (contact Jean Schensul jean.schensul@icrweb.org or Candida Flores (Candidaflores2251@gmail.com).


Community Research Agenda. The CRA Community Research agenda is a joint statement generated by 22 CBOs identifying key areas of health and mental health that need further research and intervention in Hartford and other like cities. The Research Agenda is a statement of priorities seen through a community lens, and meant to be a guide for researchers from local universities and beyond. The priorities have not changed greatly since 2016, with the exception of COVID-19 and a greater emphasis on disabilities and mental health especially of children. The process for arriving at the CRA Community Research Agenda is available from Jean.Schensul@icrweb.org.