Community-Academic Partnership (CAP) Program

Founded on the idea that “together we are better,” the GP IDeA-CTR Network supports and funds projects that provide results and value to the communities we serve. While it may be difficult at times to see how research results are relevant to real-world, community settings, we believe that health-based academic research has important and relevant applications. The practice of including community groups and members in the process of developing and implementing research projects has become more prolific over the years. These inclusionary efforts can lessen issues with community-based research design, create a more seamless transition in putting research into practice, and can make research projects more relevant to the community overall. Through this method, research teams are able to advance health science while effectively meeting the needs of the community.


The purpose of the Community-Academic Partnership (CAP) Program is to provide support for research proposals with a strong community focus. Our goal is to improve health and wellness in communities through the development or testing of programs and interventions that are impactful and sustainable in a community setting. Awarded projects have established strong ties to the community as evidenced by a letter of support from a community organization or advocate. Building on the efforts and principles of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs), teams of academic researchers and community partners can collaborate to design, implement, and sustain projects and interventions intended to address serious community health issues.


Two awards have been made available through the CAP Program: a pilot project award and a planning award. Pilot projects are 1-year awards for the generation of preliminary data to assess the feasibility and acceptability of community intervention programs. Applications must detail an existing or forming community-academic partnership and how the funds will be used to improve community health. The planning award was designed to provide seed funding for investigators working to (1) develop or engage community advisory boards for project design or planning purposes or (2) engage PBRNs to identify local priorities and begin project planning. Both awards need to outline an existing or forming partnership between researchers and a community group and both need to address an issue cited in our Community Advisory Board’s Health Priorities List. See below for the list of 2018 CAP Program awardees.


Our hope is to continue to bridge the gap between research efforts and community needs. The GP IDeA-CTR Network is just one of several CTRs and CTSIs that have implemented such community-engaged research funding programs. Successful programs like these have and will continue to support projects and initiatives that bring together members with a wide range of perspectives and expertise to address community health concerns. We believe these efforts will produce research that is relevant to communities, resolves local needs, and is generalizable to other community or clinical settings.


2018 Community-Academic Partnership Program Awardees

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, PhD

Associate Dean for Professional Development, Office of Graduate Studies
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Project: Well Water, Farm Families and Better Health (Poster Download)

Rural communities face a variety of health disparities, one of which is their reliance on private wells for water. There are no regulations requiring water quality testing for private groundwater wells in Nebraska. A recent State of Nebraska report found that potentially 80% of private water supply wells may exceed the drinking water standard for nitrate. In this project, we will engage citizen scientists to monitor ground and surface water quality for nitrate across Eastern Nebraska. When nitrate contamination is identified in private water supply wells, we will follow up with analytical testing of the water quality and provide informational resources to farm families about how to treat their water. In addition to improving drinking water quality for farm families, this project will engage citizens and provide science-based education and resources enabling them to be more aware of their environment and the need for healthy water supplies.

Dr. Bartelt-Hunt presented on this project at UNL’s Science Cafe on August 25, 2020. View the recording here.

Arielle Deutsch, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Project: Community-based understanding links between IPV and alcohol for American Indian women (Poster Download)

Although 100% preventable, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are among the most common birth defects in the US – in part due to the average 10% of women who drink while pregnant. Research indicates that alcohol-exposed pregnancy may be predicted in part by a syndemic association between intimate partner violence, alcohol misuse, and unintended pregnancy. However, current interventions ignore the role of intimate partner violence in alcohol-exposed pregnancy, and other alcohol exposed pregnancy predictors. Given high rates of intimate partner violence in some American Indian communities, such interventions may be beneficial. The current project utilizes community-based participatory research and tribally based research approaches as innovative ways to better assess risk and facilitate development of interventions that target the cycle of alcohol misuse and intimate partner violence as a systemic etiology of alcohol-exposed pregnancy. To achieve this goal, we plan to develop community-based operational definitions of intimate partner violence, substance misuse, as well as assess community understandings of current needs for addressing these issues. Our community partner is a domestic violence shelter in a Northern Plains American Indian reservation.

Shireen Rajaram, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Promotion
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Project: Planning Summit -- Feasibility of Training/Education of Tattoo Artist in Sex Trafficking Prevention (Poster Download)

Women who are sex trafficked within the U.S., often are made to have tattoos such as bar codes, a dollar sign or the name of the trafficker – the person who is selling them for sex. Tattoo artists may routinely encounter a sex trafficking survivor while she is being trafficked. As front-line professionals, they are in a unique position to detect, identify, and report of any abuse, including sex trafficking. The aim of this community based participatory pilot project is to engage the tattoo artist community in Nebraska to determine the feasibility of training/education on prevention of sex trafficking including the content and preferred mode of training on sex trafficking.