Community engagement in research topic of lectures

Published June 19, 2014

Jim Lavery, research scientist at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health and Centre for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto, will deliver two lectures on the topic of community engagement in research during a visit to Buffalo on March 19.

The first, “Community Engagement in Research: From Ethics to Operations to Engaging at Scale,” will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. in 509 O’Brian Hall, UB North Campus.

The second, “Re-thinking the Ethical Foundations of Community Engagement in Research,” will take place at 12:15 p.m. in the Hohn (formerly Hilleboe) Auditorium at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). A lunch will precede the lecture at noon.

Both lectures are free of charge and open to the public. Those wishing to attend the morning lecture should RSVP to

Sponsors of Lavery’s visit to Buffalo are the UB Center for Clinical Ethics and Humanities in Health Care; the UB departments of Medicine and Family Medicine; the Buffalo Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC); and the UB Civic Engagement and Public Policy Research Initiative.

Community engagement in global health research, as well as other forms of public health research, are generally focused at individual trial sites or in small geographic areas. But to have real impact on global health problems, interventions will increasingly require effective engagement with larger populations. In his UB lecture, Lavery will address three main questions: Why should we engage communities in research? How should we engage communities in research? How can we scale up community engagement for research and interventions with larger populations?

Lavery’s lecture at RPCI, a UB Clinical/Research Ethics Seminar, will focus on the ethical rationale for community engagement in research. Lavery says that despite the growing recognition of the contribution of community engagement in research and the extensive literature about community-based research, there is no widely accepted account of the ethical justification for community engagement in research. His lecture aims to provide an ethical rationale for community engagement and explore the implications of this ethical rationale for community engagement practice.

Lavery’s scholarly interests include community engagement in research and public health intervention, research ethics, and dialogue and public engagement related to health and controversial social issues. He currently is the principal consultant on community and public engagement for the Ethical, Social and Cultural Program of the Bill & Melinda Gales Foundation’s Global Health Program. He previously was co-principal investigator of the foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.

Lavery recently spent three years at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked on ethical and regulatory issues in international research. He published, with NIH colleagues, a book of case studies, “Ethical Issues in International Biomedical Research” (2007 Oxford Univ. Press).