Community-Academic Partnerships and Social Change

  • Peter Schafer


Too often, there is a schism between social epidemiologists who train and work in academic institutions to identify the factors influencing health and program planners and policy makers who work in the field as part of government or non-profit organizations to deliver public health services. Program planners and policy makers need academic partners with scientific expertise to help them make sound evidence-based decisions on the broad array of mechanisms affecting health. The complementary potential of collaborations between the discipline of social epidemiology and the real world service implementation experience of program planners and service delivery staff is vast, but this potential can only be realized if the two cease to work in isolation from one another. From a program planner and policy maker perspective, what is needed from the field of social epidemiology are solution-focused research initiatives – investigating an intervention to understand for whom does it make a difference, in what circumstances does it make a difference and in what respects does it make a difference. In becoming familiar with programs over a period of time, during which technical assistance is provided, knowledge is gained, trust is built, and social epidemiologists begin to shed the limiting strictures of their formal training. The transfer of knowledge between community and academics becomes unrestricted for the benefit of both parties and for the benefit of the communities whose health problems form their common focus.


Data Collection System Program Planner Healthy Start Academic Partner Social Epidemiologist 
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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Community Child Health Research NetworkBrooklynUSA

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