Fostering Alignment and the Catalytic Potential of Community-Engaged Research With US Military Veterans and Advocates

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Community Health Equity Research and Policy


This paper explores the concept of “community-engaged research” (CEnR) within the context of Veteran health care delivery and reintegration programs. A multi-sector expert panel (msExP) was formed to evaluate and make recommendations on Veteran community reintegration research and programs. The panel consisted of Veterans, care partners, clinical providers, researchers, community stakeholders, and subject matter experts. The paper examines the composition and lifecycle of the panel, highlighting the characteristics and experiences of the participants. Shifts in the panel’s purpose and engagement levels occurred in response to unanticipated disruptions, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. The transformation of the panel emphasizes the importance of aligning individual and group needs and deepening intrapersonal relationships Findings based on observations, surveys, and interviews with panel members contribute to the field of community-engaged research by demonstrating the utility of catalytic validity that balances group and individual development. As part of a broader study on Veteran reintegration, the panel and its development over time allowed for various perspectives on Veteran experiences and reintegration within the community that shaped the overall project. Despite the challenges of developing and maintaining a panel alongside a research study, feedback from the panel members on their participation provides insight into the potential for future working alliances in community-engaged health research.

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