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ComPASS Team Publishes Findings from Listening Sessions That Shaped Program
Image of woman wearing headphones smiling and listening to a group of people through a computer screen.

To inform the development of the NIH Common Fund Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) program, NIH held a series of virtual community listening sessions. In a recent Notes from the Field article in the American Journal of Public Health, the ComPASS team shares experiences and findings from these listening sessions, and how insightful perspectives from diverse communities helped shape the program. 

The overall goal of the ComPASS program is to accelerate the science of health disparities and advance health equity research. NIH is directly funding research projects led by community organizations, which will work in collaboration with research partners, to study ways to address the underlying structural factors within communities that affect health. 

Key Listening Session Themes

Across all listening sessions, attendees expressed concerns about how community voices, talents, and lived experiences have not historically been recognized or appreciated during research studies conducted within their communities. Participants emphasized the importance of building capacity within community organizations and their community-based research partners to effectively develop, implement, and sustain resources to address health challenges and the structural and social factors that affect them.

Session participants discussed the need for research organizations to build authentic, trusting relationships with communities, and the importance of sharing knowledge between researchers and the community. Participants also recognized that advancing health equity requires the involvement of sectors beyond those focused on health care, such as transportation, neighborhood environment, and healthy food access.

Informing ComPASS

The NIH used key themes and findings from the listening sessions and leveraged lessons learned to inform program development. For example, the NIH included a focus on capacity building and technical assistance to help train and empower community organizations to sustain their projects long-term based on key themes. In addition, community input about moving beyond traditional health care contexts determined ComPASS emphasis on collaborations across different sectors. Through the listening sessions, community voices and perspectives were involved in the process from the start, shaping the ComPASS program as an innovative research model aimed at addressing persistent structural and social challenges to advance health equity.

Reference: Brown AGM, Winchester D, Bynum SA, Amolegbe SM, Ferguson YO, Fluornoy Floyd M, Lawhorn C, Le JT, Lloyd J, Oh AY, Tyus N, Whitaker DE, Boyce CA. 2024. Listening sessions to shape the innovative NIH ComPASS Common Fund program to advance health equity. Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print April 18, 2024: e1–e5. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2024.307656

This page last reviewed on April 26, 2024