Community Engaged Research

EPI 248 Fall 2021 (2 units)
Course Director: Sara Ackerman, PhD, MPH
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, PhD, MPH
Phone: 415-502-1760

Small Group Leaders

Charles Rogers, PhD, MPH
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah

Hilary Seligman, MD, MAS
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Kerri Vanderbom, PhD, MA
Public Health Education Specialist

J. Deanna Wilson, MD, MPH
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Guest Lectures:

Patricia Bartlett
Social Worker and Community Organizer

Charlotte Chang, DrPH
UC Berkeley


Purba Chatterjee, MPH


Kayla Enriquez, MD


Paula Fleischer, MA


Nat Gleason, MD


Nina Graham
Community Advisor


Jim Grieshop, PhD
UC Davis


Margaret Handley, PhD, MPH


Julie Harris-Wai, PhD


Maria Haverstock
Community Advisory Board 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


Juno Obedin-Maliver, MD, MPH
Stanford University


Devika Patel, MS


Nynikka Palmer, DrPH, MPH


Greg Rebchook, PhD


Amanda Sammann, MD, MPH


Laura Schmidt, PhD


Anjana Sharma, MD, MAS


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


Small group discussions will take place via Zoom on Wednesdays, 10:30 AM to 12 PM, September 22 through November 10.


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 7 of 8 weeks;
  • Attend and participate in at least 7 of the 8 weekly small group discussions sessions (via Zoom);
  • 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 7 of 8 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


Priority is given to students in the Master's Degree Program in Clinical and Epidemiologic Research, Advanced Training in Clinial Research (ATCR) Certificate Program, Doctoral Program in Epidemiology & Translational Science, and Doctoral Program in Global Health Sciences.

All other students: Please register for Introduction to Implementation Science Theory and Design on the UCSF Implementataion Science Training Program website: Space in the course is on a first come first serve basis.

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