5 Questions with Emily Zimmerman, VCU Wright Center researcher and author

cover of book

Emily Zimmerman, Ph.D., M.S., MPH, wrote the book on community engaged research – literally.

Released in March, “Researching Health Together: Engaging Patients and Stakeholders, From Topic Identification to Policy Change” features a collection of experiences from researchers across the country, sharing how and why their projects are designed to engage the community.

The Wright Center sat down with Zimmerman, an associate professor in the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, to ask a few questions.

Who is this book for?

This book was developed to meet a range of needs. Most of the chapters in the book are co-authored by research teams that include patients and other stakeholders. I set out to bring together projects that used a wide variety of engagement methods and research approaches. As a researcher, I wanted to reach other researchers who were either new to patient and stakeholder-engaged research or were trying to expand their knowledge and tools by learning from a wide range of projects.

At the same time, the book is set up in a format that is useful for classroom learners, with tools such as discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I also wanted it to be accessible to community partners. Although journal articles on stakeholder engaged research are being published more frequently, they often don’t provide an in-depth description of who was engaged, how they were engaged and how engagement influenced project outcomes. In the book, each chapter focuses on these issues.

What’s the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader has from your book as they look to their own next project?

CTSA Program In Action Goals
Goal 1: Train and Cultivate the Translational Science Workforce
Goal 2: Engage Patients and Communities in Every Phase of the Translational Process