Community Track

"...By developing a Program that is created with the specific goal to merge community, policy, and the academy, the Kellogg Foundation will be providing us with an incredible edge as we begin our careers in the field of health disparities."
— KHSP Scholar, 2006-08
Background & History


The Kellogg Health Scholars Program — Community Track (KHSP-CT), a two-year post-doctorate based upon the Community Health Scholars Program, highlights community-based participatory research (CBPR) and relationships between academe, community, policy, and public health practice. CBPR is gaining recognition as an essential approach to study and address health disparities and social inequities. For example, the Institute of Medicine in the 2007 report, Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? identified CBPR as one of eight new content areas in which all schools of public health should offer training.

"CBPR in health is a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities."*

Each Scholar in the KHSP-CT is placed at one of four training sites and engages in CBPR and a variety of educational experiences with academic and community mentors possessing expertise in community-based public health. Each of the four sites, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, has faculty and community resources with expertise in CBPR and teaching, and each has a variety of long-term community partnerships and projects which can provide the setting for Scholars' research projects.

"… [The hill walk] underscores the critical connection between academe, community, and policy as well as the power of the connection to effect the change that we are all working towards in our communities."
— KHSP-CT Scholar, 2006-08
Over the course of the fellowship, Scholars build skills in working with communities in translating the findings of CBPR into policy. As part of the agenda of the annual Networking Meeting in Washington, DC, KHSP Scholars and their Academic and Community Mentors participate in a "Hill Walk" visiting with Members of Congress, staffers and advocacy organizations to share their work and establish relationships with these policy makers and advocates. At each of these visits, Scholars and their accompanying mentors share one-page summaries of their work and its application to policy.

The Community-Based Public Health Caucus of the American Public Health Association (APHA) plays a special role in connecting Scholars and their Community and Academic Mentors to a national network of over 300 health professionals and workers from academe, practice and community organizations, devoted to enhancing the role of community and encouraging partnerships with community in public health research, policy-making and practice. The Caucus was developed by the Community Health Scholars Program (CHSP), to insure support and a forum for presentations of community-based participatory research of Program scholars.

* Definition developed and adopted by the Community Health Scholars Program based upon Israel BA, Schulz AJ, Parker E, Becker AB in "Review of Community-Based Research: Assessing Partnership Approaches to Improve Public Health", Ann. Rev. Public Health. 1998. 19:173-202.

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The KHSP-Community Track will increase the number of faculty at health professional schools with an emphasis on schools of public health, who possess the capacity to carry out community-based participatory research (CBPR)* and teaching. Throughout the program, under the mentorship of national and local leaders in community, academe, and policy, fellows gain competencies in the understanding of determinants of community health and how to build the capacity of communities, practice agencies, policy-advocacy organizations, and academic centers to function as equal partners in community-based participatory research, service, education, and policy making.

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It is expected that all scholars entering this Program have attained some level of expertise in at least some of the following competencies. The aim of this two-year fellowship is to further develop and strengthen these competencies through the placement of scholars at one of the program's four training sites and by providing experienced faculty, partnerships with community-based organizations and health-related and advocacy organizations, and a structured post-doctoral program. The intent of the program is to ensure that all scholars have achieved competency in each stated area and that competencies in all areas have been improved during the course of the Program.

These competencies include:
  1. Understanding the values and mission of community-based public health (CBPH).
  2. Understanding social determinants of health (economic, social, behavioral, political, environmental) and developing skills and commitment for fostering community and social change.
  3. Knowledge of and skills in applying the principles of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) (e.g. community governance, equitable participation at all levels, local relevance of public health problems, trust building, benefits to community involved, dissemination of findings, translation of results into policy) including the principles, theoretical frameworks and models and methods of planning, implementing and evaluating CBPR.
  4. Ability to transfer CBPH skills to the community, thereby enhancing community capacity, and ability to share CBPH skills with other faculty.
  5. Ability to work effectively in and with diverse communities.
  6. Understanding of the policy implications of CBPR and ability to work with communities in conjunction with advocacy groups and decision- makers in translating the process and findings of CBPR into policy.
  7. Ability to balance tasks in academia (research, teaching, service) posing special challenges to those engaged in CBPR in order to thrive in an academic environment.
  8. Ability to write grants expressing CBPR principles.
  9. Knowledge of community-based teaching and learning approaches.
  10. Ability to negotiate across community-academic groups.

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Background & History

"The marriage of these two programs is brilliant…the newer cohorts of Kellogg Health Scholars will be able to practice the art of policy and advocacy, and will work directly with experienced mentors. I've no doubt that the communities that scholars go on to partner with will benefit from this tangible skill set."
— CHSP alum, 2000-01
The KHSP-CT traces its roots to an earlier Kellogg-funded initiative, Community-Based Public Health. In 1991, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched the Community-Based Public Health Initiative (CBPHI), with the goal of developing partnerships between academic institutions, community-based organizations and local health departments. The Foundation's hope was that models of these tripartite partnerships could demonstrate how academic programs in public health can be strengthened by partnering with community and practice in research and teaching, while at the same time improving the capacity of health departments and communities to address health issues of the communities they serve.

While CBPHI did develop successful partnership models and stimulated the continuous growth and development of community-academic partnerships, the experience of CBPHI also demonstrated a serious gap in academe. Developing and sustaining community-academic partnerships requires faculty with the competency to carry out community-based research and teaching, who understand determinants of community health, and who know how to build the capacity of communities, health-related agencies and academic centers to function as equal partners in community-based research, service and education. CBPHI demonstrated that there was a severe lack of faculty possessing these competencies, and that the pursuit of these skills by junior faculty often came at a cost of progress in achieving tenure and promotion.

In order to address this serious lack of faculty with community-related skills, the Foundation entered into discussion with the deans of several schools of public health that had participated in CBPHI. The result was the establishment of the Community Health Scholars Program in 1997, with the goal of developing and strengthening emerging faculty's competencies in community-based approaches to teaching service and research. An invitational, competitive process led to the designation of three training sites (the schools of public health at the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina), a National Program Office at the University of Michigan, and the start of the first cohort in 1998.

Dr. Thomas Bruce, then program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the initial program officer guiding CBPHI, played the lead role at the Foundation in developing the new program and assisting its start-up and initial implementation. He was soon succeeded in the program officer role by Barbara Sabol, who provided continued support and guidance to the program, including the advocacy for funding to continue the program and extend the fellowship period from one to two years.

CHSP provided fellowships to 46 scholars and has had significant impact on the academic institutions where they trained and began their post-CHSP careers, as well as on the community-based organizations where they engaged in collaborative research. CHSP also served as the catalyst for the development and continued growth of the Community-Based Public Health (CBPH) Caucus at the American Public Health Association (APHA), now numbering more than 300 members, with an active program of publications and presentations, policy advocacy, and promotion of community representation within APHA. Scholars and alumni are very active in the CBPH Caucus organizing program sessions, leading working groups, and making presentations at our annual Kellogg Health Scholars session.

At the start of its 8th cohort of scholars (the final CHSP cohort supported by Kellogg funding) Program leadership worked with Dr. Albert Yee, our current Kellogg program officer, to combine CHSP with the Scholars in Health Disparities Program (SHDP) in establishing the Kellogg Health Scholars Program. Further program history can be found under Program Overview - History.

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Smith, Gloria R. and Randolph-Back, Kay, "Foundation Perspective on the Community-Based Public Health Initiative", in Community-Based Public Health: A Partnership Model, Bruce, Thomas A. and Uranga McKane, Steven, eds.. (American Public Health Association, 2000).

Israel BA, Schulz AJ, Parker E, Becker AB in "Review of Community-Based Research: Assessing Partnership Approaches to Improve Public Health", Ann. Rev. Public Health. 1998. 19:173-202.

Stories of Impact, Community Health Scholars Program (University of Michigan School of Public Health, 2002).

Building the Movement for Community/Academic Partnership, Community Health Scholars Program (University of Michigan School of Public Health, 2005).