BACKGROUND: Community engaged research (CER) aims to create meaningful and sustainable community-academic partnerships in order to better understand community needs, priorities, and concerns. CER empowers community members to have decision-making power over research conducted with and in their communities, supports inclusion of community members in all stages of research, and enhances research processes in alignment with community-led priorities. Fundamental to CER is the acknowledgement that communities have unique expertise and assets that can be leveraged to support higher quality and more impactful research designs that also advance health equity. However, many researchers do not consider CER a robust scientific process, and few researchers have received appropriate training to conduct CER. To facilitate diverse recruitment and enhance equity in aging research, the Wake Forest Pepper Center received funding to establish strategic community-academic partnerships and develop a curriculum for training community members and researchers to engage in CER approaches. This work will provide a model of engagement that can be scaled to guide future studies across the larger Pepper Center network. Important to this process is understanding the perceived value, facilitators and barriers, and readiness to engage in CER among researchers across the career continuum. METHODS: We will develop and administer a survey among n=52 faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students at a single health and exercise science department, and will conduct qualitative interviews with a convenience sample of survey respondents (n=12) in order to capture more in-depth understanding of their training, views, and uses of CER. Survey data will be analyzed via descriptive statistics, and qualitative interviews will be analyzed through an iterative thematic process. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We anticipate wide variance in perceived value, facilitators and barriers, and readiness to participate in CER. Results will indicate areas of significance in the curriculum as well as an initial framework for implementing similar partnerships across Pepper Centers. Grant or Funding: This work is funded by the NIA and the Wake Forest Pepper Center (P30AG21332)

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