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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 386

Academic-Community Partnership: An Orientation for Employees of a Community Mental Health Agency to Its Research Program

1 University of Texas Health Science Center, Psychiatry Department, San Antonio, Texas, USA
2 University of Texas Health Science Center, USA
3 Center for Health Care Services, San Antonio, USA
4 Dartmouth Medical School Department of Psychiatry, Lebanon, USA

Correspondence Address:
J M Gonzalez
University of Texas Health Science Center
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20853242

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Context: Community agency employees' interest and involvement in academic-community research partnerships are keys to successful collaborations. One main barrier to success can be employees' lack of knowledge about research. We present data on an "orientation to research" program for community agency employees in a large U.S. city designed to improve knowledge about research in general and that specific to the agency. Methods: We developed an agency intranet website, a scavenger hunt to facilitate learning through the intranet research website, and a ten-item quantitative knowledge assessment tool. Academic and agency partners were actively involved in the design of the program and its evaluation. Findings: More educated and long-term employees had higher pre-test scores but not post-test scores. Significant improvement in post-test scores was observed for employees after completion of the program. Informal feedback about course content and the academic-community partnership was positive. Conclusions: This report examines the feasibility of a structured knowledge program targeted at community agency employees at all levels within an agency. We believe that this approach is generalizable to other settings to the extent that there are shared interests, resources, and investment of the academic partner and agency.

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