Fundamental to the Program are community experts who, in addition to their achievements, possess local knowledge and lived experience of the communities in which they live.  Community experts will be essential in ensuring that the Program is responsive to community needs, built on the strengths, resources, and relationships already present within communities, and mutually beneficial to all parties involved.  Community experts’ perspectives and input will also help ensure the Program fulfills its mission of training graduate students to carry out research in equitable partnership with communities, instead of on communities.

To facilitate relationships with community experts, Melvin Jackson, the co-director of the Program and a community expert with over 30 years experience in public health research will help identify and connect graduate students and community experts in their area, and act as a liaison between the Board and the community, if needed.  In recognition of the time, value and contributions of community members, the Program will provide support to community experts who are working with graduate students in the area.