Meet the new faculty working with the CTSI Community-engaged Research initiative

October 4, 2018

Three new investigators at Duke have joined the Duke CTSI Community-engaged Research initiative (CERI) team as faculty leaders. Their work and experience will help further advance projects that improve opportunities to engage with communities throughout the research planning, implementation, and prioritization process to improve health for all. Read on to hear how they are excited to begin their work with CERI.

 Leonor Corsino
Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda and Schenita Randolph. Not pictured: Leonor Corsino

Leonor Corsino, MD, MHS, FACE, NRMN Fellow

Dr. Corsino serves as Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition, as Associate Director, Duke School of Medicine Master of Biomedical Sciences, Director for the Duke Center for Community and Populations Health Mapping project,  and as co-director of the Research Education and Training Sub-core, Duke Center for REsearch to AdvanCe Healthcare Equity. She has joined CERI as Associate Director.

What will your work with CERI involve?

As Associate Director for CERI, I will be working closely with the community engagement team at Duke CTSI on the advancement, implementation, and development of the core’s many programs and initiatives. I will also help develop community-engaged research initiatives in the pilot funding programs as well as helping provide researcher consultations and developing the community-engaged research e-library of resources.

Why have you dedicated your career to community-engaged research?

Since medical school, I have worked on projects that focus on engaging the community more fully and appropriately in health research. It is my goal to work closely with my community to collectively advance and improve the health of our members by decreasing inequalities in health management, resources, and knowledge.

What are you excited about working on with CERI?

We have many projects coming to fruition in the next year, and I am extremely excited to further enhance and foster our collaboration with the amazing community on health research initiatives. I am enthusiastic about positively impacting community engagement research and enhancing trust and support for community engagement that puts our community at the center.


Schenita Randolph, PhD, MPH, RN, CNE

Dr. Randolph serves as an Assistant Professor in the Duke University School of Nursing, Co-Director of the Duke Center for REsearch to AdvanCe Healthcare Equity (REACH Equity) Community Engagement Core, and has now joined CERI as an Associate Director.

How does your previous research relate to your new role?

My research focuses on lowering the rate of HIV in the Black community.  My research engages trusted members of the Black community: barbershops and salons. I believe that engaging representative community members throughout the research process is critical for sustainability and effectiveness.

Why have you dedicated your career to community-engaged research?

Researchers’ work developing programs, interventions, medications and technology to improve health is so important; however, it is equally important to listen to the voices of whom those innovations will impact.  Community engagement in research is critical to ensure our efforts as researchers are culturally and socially appropriate and meet their needs. Community-engaged research allows me to see that the work I do is bigger than me; it can transform lives and communities.

What is on the agenda next that you’re excited about?

The team is developing a strategic plan for the upcoming year.  It’s exciting to work with a group that shares the same passion for community-engaged research!  As a new leader with the core, I am excited about all of the projects; however, I will focus the majority of my time on the Sparks program, which brings together researchers, community groups, patients, and other stakeholders who work on the same health issue from different approaches to spark new and innovative ideas for community-engaged research projects.

Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, PhD, MPH, RN, CPH, FAAN

Dr. Gonzalez-Guarda serves as Associate Professor and Dorothy Powell Term Chair in the Duke School of Nursing. She is now assuming the role of co-director of Duke CTSI CERI. She previously worked with Duke CTSI pilot projects to expand the number of funded projects to include community-engaged and population health research. She also worked previously on other projects at Duke and the University of Miami to improve community-engaged research in the Hispanic and Latino immigrant communities in the US.

How do your current projects relate to community-engaged research?

I currently employ community-engaged research strategies in my work addressing Latino health disparities, and have been doing so for fifteen years. I am the Principal Investigator of two projects taking on this approach: one project is testing relationships among stress, resilience, and connected issues like intimate partner violence, HIV, substance abuse, and depression among Hispanic young adult immigrants in the U.S. The other is a project with the National Latin@ Network of Casa de Esperanza to develop an app to prevent intimate partner violence among Hispanic youth.

What lead you to focus on community-engaged research?

My clinical background is in Public Health Nursing, which teaches that partnering with the community is the first step in research. Developing relationships with people and organizations to match research and community priorities and strengths was the most exciting part of my work as a Public Health Nurse. In my work, I realized researchers do not have enough knowledge about Latino immigrants in the U.S. to develop evidence-based practices to improve community health. As I moved into research, I have continued the focus on community partnerships and engagement I learned from Public Health Nursing.

What are some projects you are excited about working on with your community partners?

As co-director of CERI, I will have the opportunity to support work with all of the projects, whether they focus on engaging researchers or the community. CERI's goal is to build community-ready researchers and research-ready communities, and I’m excited about one program, Facilitation and Community Engagement (FACE), which will help train community members in research and expand opportunities for community members to serve as researchers on studies and receive compensation for their work. Researchers who want to engage with a specific community will be able to reach out to FACE and find a community researcher who is interested in collaborating and who has already received research training. I’m excited about the new opportunities this project will present.