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J.J. Cutuli, PhD

Partnership Coordinator

Tony Collins, BS

The Pediatric Research Optimizing Methods In Stakeholder Engagement (PROMISE) Core seeks to build bridges between researchers, key stakeholders, and communities in Delaware. We support the development of on-going partnerships to improve the quality of pediatric healthcare delivery science. PROMISE uses the principles of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), which include establishing trust, reducing power dynamics, and emphasizing mutual learning exchanges between the community and researchers.


Communities are powerful and essential partners in effective, comprehensive, and equitable research. PROMISE equips researchers across Delaware with the tools they need to conduct community-engaged research. PROMISE has three components: 

  1. Community Research Engagement Workgroups (CREWs).   Community members and researchers come together in a context of collaboration and mutual learning.

  2. Consultation, training and personalized technical assistance in key principles and methods of community-engaged pediatric research unlocks opportunities for investigators

  3. Pathways to existing data establish and organize datasets for partnerships to answer key questions, generate peer-reviewed publications, and produce findings to support research funding applications.

PROMISE is designed to provide an infrastructure to fully engage community partners in all stages of the research process. 


With the support of a full-time Partnership Coordinator (Tony Collins), the PROMISE Core establishes CREWs to help facilitate the creation of community-investigator participatory research partnerships. CREWs are a hub for community members, providers, leaders, and stakeholders to convene with researchers to build trust as they co-create and co-execute research projects. In building these relationships, CREWs will work together to identify community research priorities and methods for addressing pediatric health disparities. 

CREWs meet monthly around topics of mutual interest to the investigator and the community. The community members and investigators work together to help ensure equity in who participates in research, and how cultural and other community realities are incorporated into measurement, analysis, and interpretation of findings. CREWs also decide on the implications of findings and how they are highlighted, leading to whether and how results are disseminated to the community.


Most research training programs do not prepare investigators for community-engaged research. PROMISE rises to meet this challenge through consultation, training, and enrichment on principles and methods of community-engaged research. PROMISE provides individual consultation and technical assistance in partnership with the Delaware Clinical and Translational Research (DE-CTR) Accelerating Clinical and Translational Research (ACCEL) Program. 

The ACCEL Program has a web-based training that covers fundamental principles and methods of community-engaged research and tailored technical assistance to support individual community-investigator partnerships. The curriculum targets both community partners and investigators, to further mutual learning exchanges.


Collaboration Form Request Link


Building trusting and collaborative relationships is essential to community-engaged research can take time. Though, the problems faced by communities often need more-immediateanswers and ideas, and early career investigators simultaneously need to meet professional milestones of contributing to scientific publications and gaining research funding. To address these realities, the PROMISE Core maintains pathways to access existing datasets relevant to pediatric health, health equity, and child development. 

A PROMISE data analyst is skilled in methodologies relevant to many community-engaged research questions, including geographic information system (GIS) frameworks, accessing electronic medical record data, and advanced data management. The data analyst also provides support to investigators navigating data security standards, data sharing agreements, and provides expertise in utilizing each dataset. Data holdings are continuously expanding, and additional datasets may be added based on community priorities over time, such as those identified through CREW meetings. Access to these existing datasets allows junior investigators to support career milestones, such as generating peer-reviewed publications and pilot findings to support research funding applications, while also offering a ‘rapid response’ to pressing community questions. 

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