Haga clic aquí para leer en español.

Back in September 2019 we started the Chicago Community, Media & Research Partnership, to explore how community media outlets can effectively share health research with communities and populations experiencing health disparities.

Collaboratively led by Public Narrative and the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC), we convened a nine-member task force of community leaders and patients, community media journalists, and community-engaged health researchers, to meaningfully connect and understand one another’s perspectives, assets, and needs. We held listening sessions with community, media, and research stakeholders. We’re excited to now share the results of our work: a framework for making research accessible through community media. The framework (below) provides a set of key questions to guide research partnerships through the process of sharing relevant, actionable health information in impactful ways.

This framework (right) is just one step towards making health research more accessible. Across all three stakeholder groups we heard that there’s a need for structural change within research and media. Public Narrative and ARCC are exploring ways to further this work, and we’re sharing the suggestions we heard from the task force and listening session participants with universities and funders that have the power and resources to implement necessary changes. Below are some key takeaways.

What community media journalists would like to see in health research pitch:

  • Impact on people’s lives: Relevance, relatability, and actionable steps for target communities
  • Newsworthiness: clear tie-in to current events or priorities for target communities
  • Clear, disaggregated data and information relevant to target communities
  • Visuals: charts, graphics, photos, videos, etc. representative of target communities 
  • Quotes and contact information for community stakeholders, patients, and researchers willing to be interviewed
  • Novelty: new info, opportunity for exclusive release
  • Language translation when applicable
  • Customization to specific outlet or journalist: Context on specific relevance to their outlet and audiences

Universities and funders can leverage their power to implement the following recommendations:

  • Allocate more resources towards community engagement and leadership throughout research
  • Support community media’s capacity for health coverage through funding, fellowships and health research resources
  • Increase representation of historically excluded communities in research faculty and staff
  • Increase funding for research dissemination (community engagement specific to dissemination, language translation, data visualization, etc.)
  • Incentivize/support community dissemination for researchers (reward in promotion and tenure system, education about local community media landscape)
  • Build university understanding of and connections with local community media

Click here to see the full framework with questions, and click here to read a summary of all that went into it, including excerpts from listening sessions. Haga clic aquí para leer en español.


The project leaders are Jen Brown, MPH, Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC); Jhmira Alexander, President and Executive Director of Public Narrative; Rebecca Johnson, PhD, Independent Researcher specializing in community engagement and partnership; and Mareva Lindo, Director of Media Engagement at Public Narrative.


task force zoom screenshot
Top row from left: Task Force members Phyllis Rodgers, Mareva Lindo, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Rebecca Johnson; second row from left: Jen Brown, Darius Tandon, Jhmira Alexander, Candace Henley; third row from left: Yong Hoon Lee, Jesús Del Toro, Taneka Jennings, Shyam Prabhakaran; fourth row from left: Young Woon Han, Jackie Serrato

For more information go to publicnarrative.org/partnerships or email partnerships@publicnarrative.org.