GHUCCTS Programs & Resources

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Community Engagement

Learn more about Community Engagement (CE).

  • What's It All About

    Large group of diverse people wearing bright clothing standing in a close circleThe goal of the Community Engagement (CE) component is to develop a program of community–centered collaboration. CE seeks to increase the quality and quantity of research performed in community-based settings by strengthening the capacity of communities and researchers to serve as partners in collaborative research endeavors. CE activities help to reduce cultural and linguistic barriers that may prevent many people from taking part in research. CE also assures that GHUCCTS research reflects the interests and needs of the local community. CE helps to keep communities informed about ongoing research activities and results of completed projects.

    Summary of Community Engagement's top accomplishments from the past 10 years

  • Who is Responsible

    Carla Williams, MD headshotDirector : Carla Williams, MD

    Carla Williams, Ph.D.  is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Howard University Cancer Center. Her research focuses on building capacity within community-based organizations to provide brief health promotion interventions. She also directs projects that provide community-based cancer education and access to cancer screening for the uninsured and under-insured. Dr. Williams works with local community coalitions and service providers to improve cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and quality of life.

    Headshot of Dr. Mary Ann DuttonCo-Director: : Mary Ann Dutton, PhD

    Mary Ann Dutton, PhD is a Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center and Co-Director of the Community Engagement Component of the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Her research focuses on trauma, violence and mental health among low-income, minority individuals and community-based interventions that attempt to reduce health disparities associated with effective treatment. She has recently studied telehealth and mindfulness interventions for PTSD and related mental and physical health outcomes.

    Additional Team Members

    Daniel Merenstein, MD, Practice Based Research Network (PBRN) Coordinator- Capital Area Primary Care Research Network (CAPRICORN)

    Dr. Merenstein is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Georgetown University, where he also directs Family Medicine research. The primary goal of Dr. Merenstein’s research is to provide answers to common clinical questions that lack evidence and improve patient care. Dr. Merenstein is a clinical trialist who has recruited over 1,200 participants for 6 trials since 2006. In all his trials he recruits in both Spanish and English.

    Veronica Clarke-Tasker, PhD, Student Engagement Coordinator

    Tawara Goode, MA, Cultural Competence Coordinator

    Ms. Goode is an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator for the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University. She is nationally and internationally recognized as a thought leader in the area of cultural and linguistic competency. Her research focuses on cultural and linguistic competence and its role in addressing health care disparities including partnering with diverse communities to improve the health of their members. Ms. Goode currently conducts four national projects that focus on cultural and linguistic competence at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and disability.

    Finie Richardson, MPH, Practice Based Research Network Coordinator- DC PrimCare Practice Based Research Network Coordinator

    Mrs. Hunter-Richardson is an Instructor and Program Manager for the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Howard University College of Medicine. She is the Network Coordinator for DC PrimCare, a network of primary care practices serving the DC Metropolitan area. Her professional background merges translational and community-based research conducted in medically underserved communities. She has implemented projects that developed culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions using community-based participatory research (CBPR) to improve health outcomes among low-literacy minority populations.

    Bradford Wilson, PhD, Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Liaison

    Dr. Wilson serves as the Community Liaison and Community Engagement Cluster member for the CTSA and a Senior Research Associate at the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. His research interests include the genetics of health disparity diseases like asthma, cardiovascular disease, breast/colon/prostate cancer, diabetes, and hypertension, the pharmacogenomics of treating them, and the ethical legal and social issues (ELSI) surrounding it all. He also has recently completed the “Know Your F.A.C.T.s”; Family Ancestry Conditions and Traits family health history project for the D.C. Department of Health and interested in using technology to increase minority participation and representation in research.

  • Tell Me More

    Focus on blonde woman writing in a notebook in a coffee shop sitting at a table with a laptop and other notebooksOur services are designed to stimulate long-term collaborations that will promote translation of health research into effective practice and public policy.

    Services for Investigators

    Consultation Services for research investigators

    • Guidance on engaging diverse communities in research
    • Recommendations for useful resources
    • Assistance with designing culturally competent recruitment and retention plans
    • Consultation on including individuals with limited English proficiency in research
    • Networking opportunities
    • Assisting in building collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations
    • Mentoring for community engaged research


    We can direct investigators and community partners to useful resources for help on establishing and sustaining community-based research. Special workshops are offered periodically to enhance community engagement, cultural and linguistic competence, and community research skills. Training resources and activities for community-based practitioners are also available.


    CE team members support GHUCCTS’ efforts in development of communications tools designed for study participants and the general public. These tools may include:

    • Study reports & briefs
    • Newsletters
    • Traditional and social media

    For more information about these CE services, please contact Florencia Gonzalez at or by phone at 202-865-7743.

    Practice Based Research Network

    If you wish to conduct research within any of the Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs), please contact Finie Hunter-Richardson at 202-806-9849 or at  For more information regarding the PRBNs in our area, please go to link below.

    Community Based Organizations

    If you are interested in learning more on how you can take part in GHUCCTS related studies to address health disparities, please contact Florencia Gonzalez, Community Networks Manager, at 202-865-7743 or You may also contact Dr. Carla Williams at

  • Resources

    GHUCCTS CE Edublog

    The links below share resources to help build capacity for meaningful engagement of communities in research. Our goal is to assure that community-based organizations and researchers can work together as equal partners to improve the ways that research translates into action.

    For Investigators: This page provides an extensive toolkit designed to help faculty strategically develop an academic portfolio that includes community-engaged research. The toolkit helps faculty members anticipate and avoid common pitfalls and provides guidance for developing a strong portfolio. Examples and additional resources are provided.

    For Primary Health Care Providers: This page provides primary care providers, who are interested in engaging in research, with tools for implementing research in the health care setting. It also provides information on existing primary based research networks (PBRNs) in the area.

    For Community Members: This site provides information on resources designed to introduce approaches on Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) for community-based organizations and community leaders. The resources are organized based on the depth of the content and the amount of time required to review the materials.

    Trauma-Informed Care Resources: This site provides national and local resources to support trauma-informed care, self-care, as well as health and wellness for children adults, and professionals. Also, science-based resources and information about opportunities to participate in clinical research are available for the community.

    • Take Your Time: Dealing with Trauma Using Mindfulness Approaches During the Pandemic and Beyond (January 28, 2021)
      This event, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, featured Dr. Aby Washington and GHUCCTS Community Engagement Co-Director Dr. Mary Dutton as a part of their "Take Time Thursdays" series. | Watch Archive (Password: 92H?UpaH)