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Am J Public Health. 2015 Dec;105(12):e44-52. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302811. Epub 2015 Oct 15.

A Systematic Review of Community Engagement in the US Environmental Protection Agency's Extramural Research Solicitations: Implications for Research Funders.

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At the time of the study, Tina Yuen was with the National Center for Environmental Research, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. Alice N. Park and Sarena D. Seifer were with Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA. Devon Payne-Sturges is with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park.



We systematically reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Research's (NCER's) requests for applications (RFAs) and identified strategies that NCER and other funders can take to bolster community engagement.


We queried NCER's publically available online archive of funding opportunities from fiscal years 1997 to 2013. From an initial list of 211 RFAs that met our inclusion criteria, 33 discussed or incorporated elements of community engagement. We examined these RFAs along 6 dimensions and the degree of alignments between them.


We found changes over time in the number of RFAs that included community engagement, variations in how community engagement is defined and expected, inconsistencies between application requirements and peer review criteria, and the inclusion of mechanisms supporting community engagement in research.


The results inform a systematic approach to developing RFAs that support community engagement in research.

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