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Families share ideas through Community Engagement Studio

Eight families gathered recently at the Schlow Centre Region Library in State College for a Community Engagement Studio hosted by Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Sunhye Bai, PhD, Penn State assistant professor of human development and family studies.

Community Engagement Studios are focus-group-like sessions for researchers interested in getting input on their work from patients, caregivers, health care providers and community members. A panel provides feedback about different aspects of the research process, including planning and designing the study, conducting the study, implementing the results of the study and sharing the results of the study.

Bai provided information to the families about the Families Being Supportive Together Study. The study aims to understand how teenagers express the need for support and how their caregivers notice and respond to these attempts. Community members were encouraged to ask questions about the research and give valuable feedback to Bai based on their own experiences. At the end of the 90-minute studio, Dr. Bai said that it was superb and made her feel like the study is feasible.

Community members also value the opportunity to not only learn about research and how it can benefit themselves, their families, or their community, but also to contribute to its development and execution in a way that increases the researchers’ understanding of, and sensitivity to the community. One community member said it was great to be a part of the studio knowing that her family was able to be a part of the research process.

For more information about Community Engagement Studios and how to be involved, email

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