Community Engagement Office

CTSI’s Community Engagement office receives NIH support for Science Cafe event series

CTSI’s Office of Community Engagement to Advance Research and Community Health (CEARCH) recently launched a series of Science Cafe events to inform and enhance the translation of research into healthcare practice, and to improve healthcare delivery to diverse populations.

CTSI received supplement funding from NIH to host a total of six Science Cafe events and to disseminate results through a digital engagement platform. The Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) is a key partner in this project, as are WellShare International and Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC).

The project aims to determine whether Science Cafes improve attendee health and scientific literacy, improve communications and break down language barriers between community partners and researchers, and amplify conversations and information learned from the Cafes to a broader audience through a Facebook group.

“CEARCH strives to partner with communities throughout the research process to impact health in ways relevant to community members,” said CEARCH Director and project lead Mickey Eder, PhD. “This Science Cafe series supports this aim by investigating how we can more effectively engage and share research information in the context of language and culture.” 

This approach builds on the success of the Science Cafe model, which has been shown to successfully engage communities in research, and expands on this method by comparing the efficacy of conversations across languages and cultures within a local, state-wide scope. Partnership with WellShare International and CUHCC, two organizations working in tandem with diverse communities to promote health and well-being, allows the project to reach special populations already engaged by these partners. These initial cafes include participants from Somali, Hispanic/Latinx, and Karen communities, with potential to expand to additional communities. 

Three Science Cafes focusing on Using the Healthcare System have been completed. The current topic explores Vaccination and Immunization, presented by CTSI Child Health Champion and Co-Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Translational Research Mark Schleiss, MD, during fall 2019. To learn more and engage with this growing healthcare research community, visit the MN Research Link Facebook page.