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Community Engagement

Community Engagement and Research Program (CERP)

Team Science Training for Community-Partnered Teams


Multidisciplinary Team Training Including Community Members or Patients

Development of a team-based training for community-partnered team for team building, relationship building, group problem solving. Materials adapted from a NSF-funding academic team science training with community stakeholders to better relate and engage with community members. 

A team of CERP community partners, faculty, staff, and undergraduate students worked closely with Maritza Salazar, Ph.D. to modify a Team Science module on Communication Principles, designed initially for interdisciplinary academic teams, to be administered for community partnered teams are working on research projects spanning the translational spectrum.  Modifications were made through a series of sessions where community partners observed the module, made recommendations to content, formatting, and presentation, and revisions were piloted. Examples of recommended modification included: 1) add icebreaker activity, 2) reducing jargon in slides and presentation, 3) audio record vignettes/scenarios of excellent communication, rather than assigning participants to read out loud, 4) changing exemplars from academic or hospital settings to community locations, 5) simplify team activity and change objectives to represent a community-academic partnered team.  

The Community Engagement and Research Team plans to finalize the changes to the communication module and will prepare a train-the-trainer toolkit to disseminate to the CTSAs for use with community-partnered teams. The toolkit, which will be available on the CTSI website, will include experiential examples for facilitators to choose from that may be more applicable for different populations and teams. As the module is disseminated we will systematically test, through a series of surveys pre-session and 3- and 6-months post-session, the module's efficacy compared with original on team building, team cohesion, and ability to overcome divisions within the team.  

Toolkit Details: Team Science Training and Activity for Community-Partnered Teams


Team science activities include a scripted presentation and a team activity to workshop and teach team communication.

Objectives: The toolkit “Team Science Training for Community-Partnered Teams” offers template materials including presentations with transcripts, team activities with guidelines, and advice hosting a Team Science Training for Community-Partnered Teams. The toolkit aims to teach academic-community partner teams upon principles of team communication, inclusive discussions, and team-based communication scenarios for discussion. The team activity allows team members to act as health investigators to investigate an MRSA outbreak at a local high school, is designed to stimulate equilateral group discussion and highlights the importance of a diversity of roles at the table to solve problems.

Design: Presentation and Team Activity

Evaluation: The toolkit is free. To use the toolkit, a pre- and post-evaluation will be requested.  

For training materials and workshop materials, please contact: cerp@mednet.ucla.edu


NSF-funded Academic Team Science Training
Developed by Maritza Salazar, PhD


Community-partnered Team Science Training
Adapted in partnership with community stakeholders

Introductions with titles and degrees
  • Added icebreaker to level the playing field
Training included academic jargon
  • Training is lay-language, fewer words
Team activity: complex, hospital setting, different hierarchal roles for team members, team gives “correct answer”
  • Team activity: simplified, moved to community setting (high school), all team members are same level, team gives recommendations
Takes place in basic science lab
  • Takes place in high school setting

Scenarios are read aloud
  • Scenarios are audio recordings
Jargon and a lot of text on slides
  • Simplified language and less text displayed


Above: Team Science training pilot (Spring 2019). 

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