Community Partnership

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Community Partnership

In alignment with Duke Health and Duke University, the Duke University School of Medicine is committed to serving others in our local community and beyond. Our faculty, staff and students make science-based decisions and seek to transform discoveries to improve human health through a variety of community initiatives, some of which are listed below.


AME Zion Health Equity & Liaisons (HEAL) Partnership

AME Zion partnership pastors
AME Zion Partnership Pastors

The AME Zion Health Equity Advocates & Liaisons (HEAL) partnership aims to foster health equity and improve health in the African American community and is designed to build trust and collaboration to address disparities and increase engagement in clinical research.

 AME Zion churches in North Carolina serve as partners, co-learners, and advisers to Duke to ensure that clinical research participation accurately reflects the communities of North Carolina. Through combined resources and expertise, the program aims to foster trust, transparency, and relationships among researchers, community, and clergy, with the goal of reaching underserved and underrepresented populations. The AME Zion HEAL partnership is part of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

A Matter of Faith: Duke Health Partners with A.M.E. Zion Pastors to Rebuild Trust in Health Care

ABC Science collaborative logo

ABC Science Collaborative

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Duke University School of Medicine and the Duke Clinical Research Institute established the ABC Science Collaborative for School COVID Response, which pairs scientists and physicians with school and community leaders to help understand the most current and relevant information about COVID-19. The collaborative is now an initiative that extends across 13 states, helping school leaders made informed decisions to help keep students, teachers, and communities healthy and safe.

The ABCs of Keeping Kids Healthy  |  Research Finds Masks Can Prevent COVID-19 Transmission in Schools

Community Engaged Research Initiative

The Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI) facilitates equitable, authentic, and robust community-engaged research to improve health. CERI recognizes that collaborating with the community in research is the foundation of increasing public trust in the research enterprise and improving public health.

Duke Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School 

The Duke IHI Open School Chapter was founded in January 2009 by students from the School of Medicine and School of Nursing who hoped to build a student organization dedicated to improving health care delivery and patient safety, both at Duke and beyond. The Duke Chapter of IHI brings together students from across disciplines to promote and support explorations in health care improvement. Members participate in local workshops, projects, speaker series, and national meetings on pressing issues in health care.

Duke Kannapolis

For more than 15 years, Duke Kannapolis has developed and implemented a community-based approach to clinical research. A part of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), we believe that study participants are valued partners and belong at the center of the research process. The Kannapolis and Cabarrus County community have responded to this approach with ongoing dedication to clinical research studies that aim to improve health for generations to come.

Located on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC), Duke Kannapolis has enrolled nearly 14,000 participants using a successful community-engaged research model. We are well-connected across the Charlotte region, with a variety of community partners including the Cabarrus Health Alliance, El Puente Hispano, and seven UNC schools co-located on the NCRC. Duke Kannapolis serves as a model for community-engaged research and Duke partnerships that benefit residents across the state.

Duke-NCCU Partnership

Duke CTSI and North Carolina Central University (NCCU), an historically Black university, formalized a partnership in 2017. Since then, the partnership has made extraordinary gains in cross-institutional educational opportunities, impactful research initiatives, ethnodrama productions, and strong community outreach and support.

 In 2021, Duke CTSI and NCCU established the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office, which creates a “bridge” for opportunities to collaborate, ensure workforce diversity, build new research teams, support underrepresented minority researchers, and improve health outcomes.

Duke’s STAR Program

Duke’s Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) Program, which is held at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, provides a high-quality research experience for undergraduate students, high school students, and middle and high school teachers. The eight-week program gives participants who are interested in science and medicine hands-on experience in research methodology and writing. Participants are placed in teams and matched with Duke University faculty mentors to work on an original, hypothesis-driven project, originating as a one-page summary and culminating in a complete research paper.

Holton Wellness Center

The School of Medicine and the Duke University Health System partner with the City of Durham and Durham Public Schools on many initiatives to improve the health of people in their communities. Holton Wellness Center, one of three neighborhood health clinics operated by the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in partnership with Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, is an example of community engagement that also creates educational opportunities for students and unique models of patient care. The Holton Leadership Elective, an elective course for first- and third-year medical students, allows students to see patients two nights a week at the Holton Wellness Center. Duke, the City of Durham, and Durham Public Schools recently partnered to expand COVID-19 testing to East Durham with a testing site at Holton Wellness Center.

Gabriela Maradiaga Panayotti, MD, and Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, MD
Gabriela Muriel Maradiaga Panayotti, MD and Viviana S. Martinez-Bianchi, MD, Co-founders of LATIN-19


The Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19 (LATIN-19) is a coalition established by clinicians at Duke University to address health disparities within the Latinx community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception in March 2020, Latin-19 has improved access to testing, contact tracing, and care for the Latinx community, increased Spanish-language COVID-19 resources, and guided state and local policy changes to help reduce infection rates among Durham’s Latinx population.

Duke Faculty Fight for Latinx Communities Hit Hard by COVID-19


produce to be delivered to families

Root Causes

Root Causes is a Duke medical student-led organization focused on supporting the sustainable and humane production of food in combination with access to healthy food through education and outreach, community service, and advocacy. Key projects include the Fresh Produce Program to offer produce to food-insecure, low-income Duke Health patients; partnering with Duke’s Bass Connections to improve food security for Latinx populations in response to COVID-19; and engaging community members in gardening through the Healthy Harvest program.  Follow Root Causes on Instagram at @dukemed_root_causes 

Duke City of Medicine Academy

The Duke City of Medicine Academy is a unique high school in Durham that provides students with a challenging academic program while offering them a broad overview of health professions and potential careers in medicine, science, and research. Resources from across Duke University, the School of Medicine, and the Health System help maximize the students’ learning experience through summer internships, field trips, and after-school programs. Duke University School of Medicine and Health System faculty, staff, and students lend their expertise to projects and classroom lectures.

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