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Editorial | TCRC funding benefits Tufts, community

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 08:01

The Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC) is working in conjunction with the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and the Mystic River Watershed Association on research projects in both the public health and environmental spectrums. Through seed grant funding and collaboration between Tufts faculty and community partners, the university is taking a hands-on approach to promoting research in the greater Boston area that is beneficial to all parties involved and worth the university’s investment. 

One example of TCRC’s important role is the funding of Dr. Linda Sprague Martinez’s project at the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.  Aimed at developing programs to combat the effects of racism among individuals and within larger society, Martinez intends to have real-time group discussions with African-American participants from the Boston community.

Tufts should be commended for not only working in collaboration with the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center to promote positive change and learning within Boston, but also for choosing to sponsor projects that push researchers to work in collaboration with their subjects. This type of community-based participatory research, especially in the field of public health, is more beneficial to the targeted group than traditional methods. In studies like these, researchers are redefining the role of subjects by asking them to be active participants in a project that, if successful, will directly benefit them. Forging connections across the wall between the researcher and the researched is a step in the right direction towards creating change that is both relevant and important to the lives of the subjects. 

Furthermore, Tufts is providing graduate researchers with the financial means to pursue projects that not only contribute to the expansion of scientific knowledge, but that also serve as a starting point for positive societal and environmental change. Tufts is not merely providing a monetary gift from a distance, but has been continuously involved by making regular contributions in the form of an institutionalized effort to back research in communities that will benefit from it.

Through ongoing collaboration with directors at Mystic River Watershed Association and doctors at the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, the university lives up to its mantra of active citizenship and leads by example for students who struggle to reach beyond the outer boundaries of the infamous “Tufts bubble” and into the surrounding community.

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