Using Implementation Science to reduce health disparities in youth & families: A University-Federally Qualified Health Center partnership

This grant will strengthen the partnership between the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Cherokee Health Systems

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Cherokee Health Systems, a federally qualified health center, will partner to co-create an implementation science program to train university researchers and health practitioners to conduct and use community-engaged research to serve low-income and minoritized populations. The partners will work with participants in this program to adapt an intervention to improve maternal health outcomes for Latina and Black pregnant teens and young adults. The research team will examine the effects of the implementation science program on attendees’ research and clinical practices, assess how attendees use research evidence to adapt the intervention, and conduct a pilot evaluation of the intervention’s effects on a cohort of 20 young mothers. By creating the implementation science training program, the partnership will center an expansion of the practitioners’ capacity to use research evidence and university researchers’ capacity to engage in co-constructed research. The partnership will expand CHS practitioners’ capacity to adapt, develop, and evaluate programs to better serve local patient populations and support CHS staff in developing research questions and co-creating implementation projects. Ultimately, CHS hopes to expand the reach of community-engaged implementation science to all 20 CHS clinics across 12 Tennessee counties. The university’s institutional change efforts will focus on supporting the development of the training program, which will expand the capacity of its faculty to respond to local community health needs, and on amending college bylaws to reflect and reward engaged research.

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