HIV cure research community engagement in North Carolina: a mixed-methods evaluation of a crowdsourcing contest
This article introduces our "Research-Friendly Community" vision, placing research in the arena of social justice by giving citizens a voice and opportunity to actively determine research agendas in their community. The mission of Tri-County Rural Health Network, a minority-owned, community-based nonprofit serving 16 counties in Arkansas' Mississippi River Delta region, is to increase access to health-related services and opportunities to both participate in and shape research. Tri-County has built trust with the community through the use of Deliberative Democracy Forums, a model devised by the Kettering Foundation and through a community health worker program called Community Connectors. Over time, a partnership was formed with investigators at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Tri-County serves as a boundary spanner to link community members, other community organizations, local politicians, policy maker, and researchers. We describe our experience for other nonprofits or universities who might want to develop a similar program.