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Field trials: Community members should have a central role on decision-making process

Ana Kormos, Engagement Program Manager, University of California Irvine Malaria Initiative (UCIMI) 

The University of California Irvine describes their approach to engagement in a new publication that is currently available online, ahead of print publication, in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The publication titled Application of the relationship-based model to engagement for field trials of genetically engineered malaria vectors emphasizes the importance of establishing open dialogue, collaboration and relationships of trust with stakeholders and community members where field research is being conducted. The model places these groups at the center of the decision-making processes that drive every phase of research.

The relationship-based model (RBM) was originally developed for transforming health care delivery and has since been adapted for community and population health strategies and interventions. The RBM ensures that communities have a central role in directing program activities and strategies within existing systems is conducted in an attempt to reduce asymmetry between research programs, external experts, academics and the recipients of the technology. The publication describes the model, and how UCIMI is applying core concepts of the model to their engagement program.

UCIMI believes the core concepts of the model not only reflect and complement recently published frameworks for community and regulatory engagement, but they also apply previously tested and effective methods for developing a public health strategy that is determined by the community. The core concepts of the model offer a new approach to engagement by articulating the importance of stakeholder and community member leadership in the development and implementation of engagement strategies, definitions, and decisions, and the importance of having these voices represented where these conversations take place.

Questions and comments can be directed to:
Ana Kormos
UCIMI Engagement Program Manager

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