What is a Community Engagement Studio?
The Community Engagement Studio (CES) is a one-time meeting of approximately 1.5 hours where community members (i.e. patients and stakeholders) give feedback and advice to improve upon investigators’ research projects. A CES provides a cost-effective and time efficient method to engage patients and stakeholders to enhance current research practices and improve upon dissemination. Stakeholders are empowered to provide meaningful insights into all phases of research through a streamlined process that gives investigators valuable feedback on their research. Stakeholders participating in the CES receive a meal and compensation for their time. Participants are not being recruited for studies but sharing expertise based on their experiences.

For Researchers:
Why participate in a CES? 

  • Gain valuable feedback on your research concept or study design before spending valuable time and resources
  • Engage stakeholders and patients to enhance current research practices and improve dissemination.

Does a CES require IRB approval?
No, the CES is not considered research. It is a process to inform the development, conduct or dissemination of research. The participants in a CES are not considered research subjects but rather community advisors.

What is the time commitment required?
CES provide a significant benefit for a minimal investment of time. On average, researchers spend less than four hours of their time preparing for and participating in a CES. After contacting the CTSI, researchers will meet with the CES Team for an initial planning meeting (1 hour), preparing the presentation (1 hour) and attending the CES (2 hours).

For Community: 
Why participate in a CES? 

  • Share your voice and experience on issues important to you
  • Become a part of the research process – share how and what type of research should be conducted
  • Voice your opinion and share valuable input as a member of the community
  • Meet researchers who are conducting studies that are important to you

Researchers or community members interested in a CES, please contact Pamela Witt, Community Engagement Coordinator, 717.531.1440, ext 3 or


Upcoming Community Engagement Studios: 


The Penn State CTSI’s Community Engagement Studio is adapted from the Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core.