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Section 1: Introduction

Welcome to CHEER!

Welcome to CHEER – the Community Health Equity & Engagement Research program! CHEER is a partnership between the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at Penn State. The CHEER program promotes community-engaged research (CEnR) across Penn State, spanning many disciplines, with the overall goal of enhancing wellness and reducing health disparities. It serves as the landing place for faculty who seek to engage communities in their research and for community organizations and members to engage with Penn State expertise. The CHEER team is here to jumpstart your career in CEnR, connect you with community partners based on shared interests, and provide resources and educational programming in an effort to promote meaningful and sustainable partnerships.

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The CHEER toolkit for research and education teams

This toolkit is a guide for research and education teams to learn about the importance of community-engaged research (CEnR), guiding CEnR principles to support meaningful engagement, and strategies to develop and maintain successful community-academic partnerships. Also included in this toolkit is an Appendix containing real-world, evidence-based best practices and resources.

Developing this toolkit was a collaborative effort among a multidisciplinary team, resembling the true spirit of community engagement. The CHEER team is grateful to our esteemed colleagues and generous friends who made invaluable contributions to the creation and editing of this toolkit.

About the Authors

Paula MoodiePaula Moodie, MSW, is a Research Project Manager for CHEER at Penn State College of Medicine. She has dedicated her career to serving and advocating for at-risk, vulnerable, underserved and underrepresented populations. Paula brings her most recent work in diversity and inclusion to the CHEER program, with a commitment to link researchers with populations that will result in improved equity in health care access and delivery.

Jennifer PogerJennifer M. Poger, MEd, has been part of Penn State College of Medicine research spanning multiple disciplines, including Neurology, Pediatrics, Public Health Sciences and Medicine, since 2005. As the Director of Education for the CHEER program, Jennifer develops, facilitates and evaluates educational opportunities to promote community-academic partnerships and enhance skills necessary to thrive in community-engaged research efforts.

Jess Abrams SchrodelJess Abrams Schrodel, MEd, is a Research Project Manager for CHEER at the Penn State College of Medicine. With many years of experience working in educational equity and human service partnerships, Jess strives to create meaningful connections between community members and researchers that promote equity in health care in underrepresented communities to reduce health disparities. As a doctoral student in the Penn State Lifelong Learning and Adult Education program, Jess is focused on researching identity development among women.

Editors and Contributors

Jennifer KraschnewskiJennifer L. Kraschnewski, MD, MPH, joined the faculty of Penn State College of Medicine in 2009. Dr. Kraschnewski is a clinician-investigator with a research focus on community-engaged approaches for healthy equity and behavioral interventions for healthy lifestyles in both clinical and community settings. She currently holds several leadership roles, including Director of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Vice Dean for Research within the Department of Medicine, Principal Investigator of the CDC-funded Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) project, and Director of Penn State Project ECHO. She serves as the Director of the CHEER program, which seeks to connect and sustain community-academic partnerships with a focus on improving lives and reducing health disparities.

Andrea MurrayAndrea Murray, MPH, is a Project Manager in the Department of Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine. Murray joined the College of Medicine in 2018 and has expertise in rural health, racial and ethnic minority health and social determinants of health. She has identified and strengthened community-academic partnerships in her role as Project Director of the CDC-funded Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant.

In partnership with

Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute Community-Engaged Research Core

Penn State Social Science Research Institute

“I most enjoy the opportunity to work collaboratively with health care providers and organizations to drive the mission of improving access to high-quality care and identifying and addressing social determinants of health.”
-George Garrow, MD, Chief Medical Officer at The Primary Health Network; Community representative; member, executive committee, Penn State CTSI