SOPHE’s newest handbook provides a step-by-step guide for community engagement in research

Underserved Populations: Advancing Health, Engaging and Developing (UPAHEAD) Research Handbook

Washington, DC – January 23, 2019 – Engaging the community from the start in identifying and addressing health issues through collaborative research increases the likelihood of long-term improvements in health status.

However, many medical and allied health researchers have few resources to guide them in establishing authentic and effective partnerships with community stakeholders.

SOPHE, in collaboration with the University of Texas Health San Antonio and its community partners, have published a new e-book, Underserved Populations: Advancing Health, Engaging and Developing (UPAHEAD) Research Handbook.

With valuable links and tips, this handbook offers constructive guidance on best practices to establish a dynamic, community-academic partnership that utilizes the talents and unique knowledge of community members and the skills and resources of researchers to help address health issues.

“Reducing health status disparities requires researchers to move beyond their comfort zones and to partner with underserved communities with little to no benefit from research,” says Barbara J. Turner, MD, MSED, primary handbook author.

“True community collaboration requires researchers to reach out beyond those who are easy to engage or are from more advantaged backgrounds to address the priorities of those with the greatest need.”
This resource features a rigorous overview of published evidence about the initial stages of identifying community partners to guide the engagement and research process, and real-life examples and action items to build stronger relationships with vulnerable populations.

It fills evidence gaps with lessons from a University of Texas Health, San Antonio research project funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute® (PCORI®) and focuses on engaging residents in two rural, predominantly Hispanic communities in chronic pain management.

In contrast to other guides, the nine-step, 210 page e-book emphasizes practical methods to involve and partner with members from hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations that are new to productive collaborations with researchers to improve health and health care.

Readers will:

  • Gain knowledge of community-engaged research
  • Identify and engage community partners
  • Structured group processes to elicit community priorities
  • Develop protocols to design short– and long-term initiatives
  • Identify capacity-building strategies

“SOPHE is pleased to partner with the University of Texas Health, San Antonio to advance the research and practice focused on eliminating health disparities,” says Elaine Auld, CEO.

“In addition to clinicians, we hope this new resource will benefit community organizations, policymakers, payers, and community members in order to engage and sustain research relationships with underserved, vulnerable populations.”

For more than 70 years, SOPHE has provided the most credible, up-to-date information and tools on health education and health promotion — what is needed, what is new and what works.

Learn more about UPAHEAD and other SOPHE books, tools, and resources.

# # #