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Community-Academic Partnerships

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity is leveraging its experiences building strong community-academic partnerships in Baltimore, across the United States and in Sub-Saharan Africa to help chart the course towards the bold and exciting vision of local and global health equity.

Realizing the vision of health equity requires academic and community partnership that foster multidirectional learning and mutual innovation beyond single disciplines, sectoral and geographic boundaries; cultural mores; and political will. Advancing health equity requires research that addresses gaps in evidence and translation. Some of these gaps include the need for practical interventions targeting the multiple factors that contribute to disparities; all the way from individual risks and behaviors, family and social networks, physical and social conditions within communities, to institutional, local, national, and global practices and policies.

Such efforts will enhance the innovation, relevance, and effectiveness of interventions and optimize their translation into sustainable programs and policies to advance health equity in local communities - with the goal of national and global dissemination.   

Benefits of Community-Academic Partnerships

Community-academic partnerships offer unique opportunities to draw from the respective strengths and expertise of academic institutions and community partners to achieve health equity in socially at-risk communities. We have identified several benefits of these partnerships. They include the ability to:  

  • Develop, merge and share knowledge and expertise that promotes high quality research and capacity building
  • Create systems to enable the translation of research findings into action to improve health equity
  • Support new knowledge to inform policy and decision-making, and 4) use innovative interventions, critical analysis of existing systems, and pooling of resources to better address health inequity.  

Our Community Advisory Board

Engaging and building our Community Advisory Board (CAB) is one of our biggest successes. 

Since 2010 we have been meeting as a group of people promoting healthy communities free of health disparities.  The Center is currently supported by a forty-member community advisory board made up of representatives from community-based organizations, neighborhood associations, universities, government agencies, and patients and doctors. Center faculty and staff look to the community for advice at every stage of development. Besides attending quarterly meetings, Community Advisory Board members serve on committees to help in project development.

Other Community-Academic Partnerships

  • Local Global Learning Partnership: A Center team travelled to Kampala, Uganda with community advisory board members from Baltimore to meet in person with Baylor Uganda CAB members to share advisory board experiences and contribute to a new evaluation tool assessing community-academic partnership effectiveness. 

  • In 2019, our team delivered workshops for American Health Association using human-centered design principles to develop patient-focused solutions to treat serious heart challenges.