Defining and measuring community engagement and community-engaged research: Clinical and translational science institutional practices

Milton Eder, Eunbyul Evans, Melanie Funes, Hui Hong, Katja Reuter, Syed Ahmed, Karen Calhoun, Giselle Corbie-Smith, Gaurav Dave, Mia Defino, Eileen M Harwood, Anne Kissack, Lawrence C. Kleinman, Nina Wallerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: The institutions that comprise the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences continue to explore and develop community-engaged research strategies and to study the role of community academic partnerships in advancing the science of community engagement. Objectives: To explore CTSA institutions in relation to an Institute of Medicine recommendation that community engagement occur in all stages of translational research and be defined and evaluated consistently. Methods: A sequential multimethods study starting with an online pilot survey followed by survey respondents and site informant interviews. A revised survey was sent to the community engagement and evaluation leads at each CTSA institution, requesting a single institutional response about the definitions, indicators, and metrics of community engagement and community-engaged research. Results: A plurality of CTSA institutions selected the definition of community engagement from the Principles of Community Engagement. Although claiming unique institutional priorities create barriers to developing shared metrics, responses indicate an overall lack of attention to the development and deployment of metrics to assess community engagement in and contributions to research. Conclusions: Although definitions of community engagement differ among CTSAs, there seem to be more similarities than differences in the indicators and measures tracked and reported on across all definitions, perhaps owing to commonalities among program infrastructures and goals. Metrics will likely need to be specific to translational research stages. The assessment of community engagement within translational science will require increased institutional commitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Johns Hopkins University Press.


  • Clinical and translational science
  • Community engagement
  • Community health partnerships
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Metrics and outcomes
  • Outcomes research evaluation


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