Research & Equity in Academic-Community Partnerships for Health


Inspired by the Penn Community Scholars Program (Penn CSP), a program that has trained and built capacity among over 40 organizations since 2016, REACH is a new initiative founded and led by Co-Directors Nicole Thomas of the Urban Health Lab (UHL), and Sara Solomon of the Penn Injury Science Center (PISC), and Associate Director Dr. Lucy Tuton of the School of Medicine, with primary funding from the Office of the Vice Provost of Research (OVPR). Drs. Douglas Wiebe (PISC), Eugenia South (UHL) , and Zachary Meisel (PISC) are REACH Faculty Advisors. 

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REACH will work to ensure the community, local leaders, and Penn faculty and trainees have the knowledge, resources and opportunities to effectively and efficiently partner in research. As a growing initiative, we will design, implement, and evaluate REACH using a phased, inclusive, and equitable approach. Learn more about our process below.

REACH aims to partner community-based organizations with academics to improve the health of vulnerable and underserved communities.


We will do this by:

  • Building trust within community organizations and individuals;

  • Increasing knowledge and awareness of the benefits of community-based participatory research;

  • Conducting high-Impact, community-engaged research that is mutually beneficial to the communities it is intended to serve;

  • Disseminating findings to inform practice and policy.

AIM/Phase 1

Identify the facilitators, barriers, attitudes, knowledge, experiences and skills to conduct CBPR among both academicians and community organizations; 

AIM/Phase 2

Design, pilot and evaluate feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, cost, sustainability, and effectiveness of the REACH intervention;

AIM/Phase 3

Develop a stakeholder-informed conceptual model and optimized intervention design with a corresponding curriculum and implementation toolkit.