A reflection from Ahmed Chaudhry – CCH Shares & Learns at ACTS Conference

From Center for Community Health Newsletter
CCH Shares & Learns at ACTS Conference
CCH Community Partner & Staff Share & Learn at Association for Clinical & Translational Science (ACTS) Conference in Washington DC
Last month, a great team including a community partner and staff from the Center for Community Health (CCH) and the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC) participated in the Association for Clinical & Translational Science (ACTS) Conference  in Washington, DC. The conference convened researchers and stakeholders from across the country to share and discuss innovative methods and promising practices to support the full spectrum of translational research.
Click here for a reflection from Ahmed Chaudhry (Puerto Rican Cultural Center), ARCC Steering Committee Community Chair and ARCC Seed Grantee, who attended the conference as a representative of ARCC and CCH, and a list of CCH and ARCC presentations and participants.

As a community partner in attendance with Northwestern University at the 2018 Association for Clinical and Translational Sciences Conference, I received valuable perspectives on the variety of efforts nationally ongoing at different academic institutions and how NUCATS ARCC and community-engaged research (CEnR) in Chicago all fit into the larger picture.

Some topics of relevance from the conference speakers included:

  • Team science: the importance of collaboration in advancing CEnR
  • Career pathways for translational researchers
  • Academic health center engagement in community needs assessments

The final topic listed was of special importance to me as I aim to engage in a comprehensive community needs assessment in Humboldt Park and hope to involve Northwestern and members of the ARCC steering committee in this endeavor.

Additionally, I attended a session on “Novel Approaches to Successful Grant Writing” which not only helped to build my capacity to contribute to business development at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, but also provided tools for immediate use in my work.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the conference was engaging in discussions with conference attendees regarding the poster presentations showcasing CEnR at Northwestern and the achievement of health equity through health department-academic partnerships. While the vast majority of attendees were academic partners, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest they expressed in my perspectives from the community side.

Some of the take-away lessons, from Translational Science 2018 included:

  • The importance of maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with healthy power dynamics, governance and decision-making shared equitably across academic and community partners
  • Innovative ideas facilitating CEnR, i.e. establishing a 501(c)(3) non-profit external to the academic and community institutions to manage shared data
  • Best practices in building trust between academic institutions and communities of color in reducing health disparities I look forward to sharing these experiences with the ARCC steering committee and putting what I’ve learned into action as we sustain our partnership with Northwestern while also building new bridges in communities across Chicago.

Poster Presentations:

  • Tool to Assess Opportunities to Augment Health Literacy & Culturally Responsive Components of Research Design to Enhance Diverse Engagement
  • Achieving Health Equity through Health Department-Academic Partnerships & Community-Engaged Public Health Research: Healthy Chicago 2.0: Jen Brown, Rachelle Paul-Brutus, Ahmed Chaudhry, Sarah Rittner, Marc Atkins, Doriane Miller, Amparo Castillo
  • Community Perspectives on Engagement in Clinical Research Design, Conduct, and Dissemination: Jen Brown, Maryann Mason, Paris Davis, Yaa Simpson, Ashley Sipocz, Sarah Gabriella Hernandez, Gina Curry
  • Multiplying Resources: Impact & Return on Investment of 10 Years of CommunityEngaged Research & Partnership Seed Grants: Ahmed Chaudhry, Jen Brown, Melvin Thompson, Becca Carl , Maryann Mason, Gina Curry


  • Ahmed Chaudhry, Puerto Rican Cultural Center, ARCC Steering Committee Community Chair and ARCC Seed Grantee
  • Jen Brown, Director, ARCC
  • Grisel Robles-Schrader, Research Portfolio Manager for Community & Stakeholder Engagement, CCH
  • Ashley Sipocz, Center for Clinical Research
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