University of Southern California

Research

Community-Centered Research

An important aim of scholarly and creative focus is community engaged research. Our goal is to better serve the diverse communities that comprise Los Angeles through research that is not just recognized for its scientific impact, but also conduct research that has a measurable impact on the City of Los Angeles as well as other communities around the nation and the world.

Beyond the City of Los Angeles, USC’s extensive distance education programs in Social Work, Education and other fields provide research opportunities for students around the country.

See how our research is serving diverse communities below.

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 Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC-CTSI)
 USC Center for Diversity and Democracy
 USC Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES) Center
 Homelessness Initiative
 The USC School of Architecture
 Environmental Health Science Center
 Community Relations Research
 Office of Community Partnerships
 Office for the Protection of Research Subjects – Faculty/Community Event

 

Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC-CTSI) assists researchers in forming university-community partnerships through workshops, one-on-one consultations and faculty matchmaking, through programs such as: LA-CERC Services for the Community (to help communities and clinical organizations transform health-related needs into promising research) and Los Angeles Community Engagement Core (LA-CERC) Services for Researchers. CTSI also offers these courses:

Community-Engaged Research 101 covers health solutions among groups that have historically been under-represented in medical studies. Clinical investigators learn ways in which community-engaged research differs from traditional research, and how it transforms the role of community stakeholders from research subjects to research participants, who help shape and drive research questions that address urgent health needs. Learn more.

Promotora Instructional Video: This Spanish-language video helps researchers develop community-engaged health interventions involving promotoras – community members trained to serve as health educators and service navigators. Lecturers review step-by-step research protocol and data collection tools that are integral to an evidence-based promotora program. Learn more.

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USC Center for Diversity and Democracy: Affiliated with the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, the CDD works with faculty members, Ph.D. students, undergraduate students, and community partners to enhance university-community civic engagement and the diversity of university faculty and students. The Center focuses on research that stresses imagining a future for Los Angeles and other global metropolitan areas of racial equity and social justice, supporting a diverse and excellent pool of faculty and graduate researchers in Los Angeles committed to issues of diversity and democracy in the local area. Visit their website.

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USC Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES) Center for Environmental Health Disparities is one of five national university centers funded by the NIH/EPA to work with local communities to better understand ways to improve environmental conditions for vulnerable populations. The MADRES research and outreach programs bring together clinical, environmental, social and public health scientists and community engagement professionals to elucidate the relationships between biological, chemical, environmental, genetic and epigenetic, and social factors. Learn more.

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Homelessness Initiative is one of the “wicked problems” to be tackled by the university. Towards this end, USC is harnessing university resources and expertise to encourage research collaboration, coordination and education to address homelessness across Los Angeles County. A multidisciplinary pipeline of faculty, professionals and students currently work in this area, developing state-of-the-art interventions and conducting research to guide public and private strategies and innovative solutions. Learn more.

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The USC School of Architecture has been engaged in a multi-tiered response to designing for diverse often disenfranchised or neglected populations, including work with the 32nd Street K-12 Magnet School, and Early Head Start Centers in Promise Zone neighborhoods. It is also active in finding creative solutions of ongoing housing shortages including temporary homeless shelters. Landscape work includes collecting data to support the design of solutions for sites ranging from the Owens Lake valley, Los Angeles River and the Salton Sea.

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Environmental Health Science Center develops scientific knowledge, investigator teams, and community engagement needed to reduce the burden of diseases and disability from environmental impacts. An important component of the program is its Community Outreach and Engagement Core that shares research findings with the public, trains community volunteers and student groups in community-based research and functions as a bridge to inform researchers about community concerns, building strong community-academic partnerships to address health impacts and environmental health disparities. Visit their website.

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Community Relations Research reports such as the State of the Neighborhood inform university leadership and researchers of strategic priority areas for interdisciplinary faculty research and scholarship that could further inform community needs and assets, as well as place-based research and interventions; additionally, the report is as a resource for university and community stakeholders in civic engagement, place-based research and student service learning. Visit their website.

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Office of Community Partnerships directs outreach efforts and activities and works with faculty and stakeholders on campus to provide coordination and leadership in facilitating community partnerships associate with community-based health research.

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Office for the Protection of Research Subjects – Faculty/Community Event is a one day networking event for researchers/ faculty who are doing community engaged projects to showcase committed community researchers, partners and participants, foster collaborations and present panel discussions of issues of interest (e.g.: building & sustaining relationships, funding and resource allocation, successes and barriers, unique approaches).

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