Community Engaged Research

EPI 248 Fall 2019 (2 units)
Course Director: Sara Ackerman, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences


This course provides training in the theory and practice of engaging patients, members of the public, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in health research, intervention design and implementation. The course introduces students to multiple engagement strategies by way of readings, guest speakers, case studies, and online discussions. Course instruction focuses on applying participatory research methods to existing or planned studies and implementation projects, and adapting health interventions to real-world contexts. Students will learn to situate community engagement practices and principles in historical, social and political contexts, and to critically evaluate the ways that engagement strategies shape the production of new knowledge.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe different approaches to engaging patients, the public, and community-based organizations in health research, intervention design and implementation;
  • Critically evaluate the benefits and limitations of different engagement methods in specific contexts;
  • Explain how engagement principles and strategies can influence research design, intervention development, data collection and evaluation activities, and implementation approaches;
  • Identify a range of potential community partners; and
  • Develop and justify a detailed plan for incorporating a community partnership into an existing or proposed research or implementation project.

Designing Clinical Research (EPI 202). Exceptions to this prerequisite may be made with the consent of the Course Director, space permitting.

Course Director:

Sara Ackerman, MPH, PhD
Phone: 415-502-1760

Consulting Faculty:

Kevin Grumbach, MD

Guest Lectures:

Charlotte Chang, DrPH
UC Berkeley


Purba Chatterjee, MPH


Kayla Enriquez, MD


Paula Fleischer, MA


Nat Gleason, MD


Jim Grieshop, PhD
UC Davis


Margaret Handley, PhD, MPH


Julie Harris-Wai, PhD


Maria Haverstock
Community Member


Anita Ho, PhD, MPH
University of British Columbia


Margot Kushel, MD


Courtney Lyles, PhD


Marsha Michie, PhD
Case Western Reserve University


Doriane Miller, MD
Univ. of Chicago Center for Community Health & Vitality


Tung Nguyen, MD


Greg Rebchook, PhD


Laura Schmidt, PhD


Scott Shipman, MD
American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)


Cho Hee Shrader, MPH
AIDS Project of the East Bay (APEB)


Pedro Vidal Torres, MPA
Tenderloin Safe Passage


Roberto Vargas, MPH


Weekly course content will be delivered via video lectures, case studies, and readings through the course CLE website. Students will post weekly assignments in online discussion forums, and provide/receive feedback through the online discussion forums and weekly in-person small group discussion sessions facilitated by course faculty. In-person small group discussions will take place on Thursdays from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, Sept. 26 to Dec. 5 (no class on Nov. 28).


Required readings will be posted on the course website.


Evaluation of student performance will be based on successful completion of weekly homework assignments and a final project, as well as participation in an online discussion forum and in-person small group sessions. To pass the course, learners must:

  • Post weekly assignments in the online discussion forums by the designated due date and time in 8 of 10 weeks;
  • Attend and participate in at least 8 of the 10 in-person weekly small group discussion sessions;
  • Provide thoughtful feedback via the online discussion forums to at least two others regarding their weekly assignments by the designated due date and time in 8 of 10 weeks; and
  • Submit a final completed assignment by the designated due date and time at the end of the course.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


This course is sponsored by the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program, and space is limited. Preference is given to UCSF-affiliated personnel. We regret that auditing in the classroom is not permitted.

To enroll in this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Please see our fees page for cost information. The deadline for application is September 6, 2019. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

The application is best completed using the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Safari.