We are a collaborative center with academic partners at UCLA, RAND, and USC, and with health plan, services agency, and community members and consumer partners serving Los Angeles and other regions of the country. Our Center focuses on two themes:
1) Improving quality of care at scale or broadly in communities
2) Partnership in research and program development, implementation, and evaluation to achieve science that can inform and be informed by community-based services delivery within institutional, sociocultural, and neighborhood contexts.
After finding substantial outcome benefits of quality improvement for underserved minority patients with depression, we piloted a partnered research approach to help realize that promise for underserved communities. This partnered approach applies community participatory research principles, including equal voice of partners in decision making at all research stages, two-way capacity building that attends to community as well as scientific benefit from research efforts, and development of trust through sustained partnerships that are responsive to partner priorities while advancing effective programs through rigorous research. We apply these principles in collaboration with diverse stakeholders, including services delivery agencies, health plans, community-based organizations, community members, and consumers.
Our partnered research center is designed to increase the validity and value of research to diverse stakeholders while building commitment for implementation of findings and products. The Center is structured as a collaborative learning enterprise, with activities to promote new ideas, bring diverse opinions and resources together, facilitate investigator development, and rigorous internal and external review. This center structure represents a shift in our view of the purposes of research toward having public impact, with implications for leadership (i.e., academic and partner co-leads of all components), Operations (e.g., tailored for and available to academic and community members), methods (technical advances while incorporating partner perspectives), and support for effective partnerships. The shift is also substantive, focusing on issues of importance to partners that fit areas of scientific strength for academic investigators.