Community-Engaged Research Support

Section 1

Community-Engaged Research

Community-engaged research (CEnR) is “the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the wellbeing of those people (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997, p.9).” Community- engaged research differs from traditional research. Typically, a researcher initiates a research question and develops a study design with little or no community input. In community-engaged research, however, the community may play a role in defining relevant research questions, and a community member or organization may approach the university to collaborate on exploring a research topic. The degree to which the community becomes involved in a community-engaged research project can vary greatly between partnerships.

Who We Serve

Community-engaged research support is available to any UCI or community person or entity, with most services provided free of charge. Not sure if this service is right for you? Give us a call to find out!

Services We Provide

  • Protocol review and study consult: a group of experienced researchers and coordinators are available to assist investigators in designing studies and implementing methods that reduce barriers and maximize the likelihood of success
  • Matching services: Novice investigators and community partners may request to be matched with seasoned investigators, community partners, or others in our cadre of experts to offer feedback, guidance, or collaborations toward successful community engagement and partnered research
  • Experience: Community and academic researchers, or want-to-be researchers, can attend Community Health Research Exchange (CHRE) and CEnR Journal Club meetings to learn about partnered research, network, and share resources and ideas
  • Access to Community Engagement Studios to provide a framework for stakeholders to give immediate feedback to researchers on specific areas of concern before a research project is implemented, or to assist a struggling project

Contact Information

The Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) Support Service is chaired by Dr. Dara Sorkin (dsorkin@uci.edu), a community and clinical researcher with diverse experiences related to CEnR and community engagement. Robynn Zender (rzender@uci.edu) coordinates the activity of the service.  Interested parties may email either person

Helpful Community Engagement Resources

  • Principles of Community Engagement-Second Edition

National Institutes of Health (U.S.)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)


  • Toolkit for Developing Community Partnerships

Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI)


  • Learn at your own pace; Online Educational Library (SC CTSI)


  • Balls-Berry, Joyce E., and Edna Acosta-Perez. "The use of community engaged research principles to improve health: community academic partnerships for research." Puerto Rico health sciences journal 36.2 (2017): 84.
  • Wallerstein, Nina, et al., eds. Community-based participatory research for health: advancing social and health equity. John Wiley & Sons, 2017.