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Community Scientist Academy and our research mission

Community involvement has long been a concern in research. The Belmont Report mentions “justice” as one of its basic priniciples. Justice, in this context, refers to ensuring the burdens and benefits of research are equitably distributed.

More recently, the issue of community based participatory research has come to the fore. This type of research brings community representatives into the entire research process, from identifying research questions to be addressed, to designing acceptable interventions, through disseminating and applying findings. Another issue of concern at UAMS is the perceived disconnect between our academic medical center and some parts of the state that don’t have a lot of direct interaction with our institution. People who don’t live in central Arkansas may not be aware of what UAMS has to offer, and/or of the types of research that go on here. And UAMS faculty may not be fully aware of what kind of research interventions would be acceptable, or of interest, to different parts of the state.

The Community Scientist Academy is one measure the UAMS Translational Research Institute is using to bridge that gap. The academy recently graduated its first class. We strongly encourage our IRB members to read the news release about the academy. There are some good tidbits in there about how research is perceived in the community, and some actions researchers can take to counter misperceptions.