Community-Academic Partnership

Community-Academic Partnership for Community-Based Participatory Research

Eastern Shore Healthy Communities has created a community-academic partnership to explore the relationship of Livable Communities and health in the rural Eastern shore setting. This is done using “community-based participatory research.” A community-academic partnership means that community members work in partnership with members of an academic community, in this case, Eastern Virginia Medical School faculty, to examine an issue of community importance. Community-based participatory research is a study that includes community members in defining the research purpose, conducting the study, and the results of the research return benefits directly to the community.

Two initiatives have emerged from this research so far: Walkability Audit and Livability Audit.

In August 2012, ESHC engaged the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to provide community forums on community walkability and conduct audits of the walkability of four Eastern Shore towns: Chincoteague, Onancock, Exmore and Cape Charles. The resulting Technical Memo (link) is a great community resource.

During the summer of 2014, we conducted a Livability Audit by providing mini forums throughout the Eastern Shore in church and community settings. We provided the community with information on livable communities, obesity, health, health differences, social determinants of health, community-academic partnership, and community-based participatory research. We asked each community group to share their opinion of Eastern Shore assets that create livable, healthy communities, and then to share their opinion of what needed to be changed or added to improve the Shore’s livability or health. The result is a forthcoming white paper which will be available on this web site and will provide the basis for grant applications to study rural livability and its relationship to health.


All members of this work group have undergone Human Subjects Research training and signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

This environmental change initiative is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  Work Group co-chairs are Patti Kiger (Eastern Virginia Medical School) and Bob Mayes (U.S. Health Service, retired)