Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and co-hosted by Evidence for Action and Partners for Advancing Health Equity, the Ways of Knowing Symposia consists of five collaborative events. These events aim to cultivate a more holistic appreciation of the different ways people understand the world and foster a more inclusive and equitable standard for rigor in health research.

The kick-off event marked the beginning of the series on March 7 at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. Speakers leading the three core topically focused convenings were highlighted: “Indigenous Ways of Knowing,” “Transforming Community-Led Health Research,” and “Challenging the Norm: Redefining Rigor in Health Research.”

CCPH is collaborating with Joy Williams, the Founder and Executive Director of Hope to Thrive, to host the second symposium titled “Transforming Community-Led Health Research.” This event aims to provide a space to facilitate peer networking and heartfelt conversations to collectively explore strategies to overcome systemic barriers in developing and sustaining authentic and meaningful community research partnerships.

“Partnership is critical to organizing a symposium that will inspire a diverse group of community-led practitioners and researchers. I’m so grateful that CCPH was partnered with Joy Williams because she is a powerhouse of a woman who leads with her full mind, body, and spirit. The energy that we brought to the kickoff event will transfer over to Transforming Community-Led Health Research by embracing nontraditional ways of knowing and learning about each other.”

Charisse Iglesias, CCPH Training & Resource Director

“I’m very excited about this symposium and the session that CCPH is organizing with Joy especially because it will take place in North Carolina, my home for the last 13 years! I am hoping to include a couple of my longtime mentors who have supported my journey as a community-engaged researcher to participate in this session and share their lived experiences from the perspectives of academic and community leaders. I am hopeful that this session will allow academics and communities to engage in an intentional discourse grounded in the foundational elements of authentic community-centered research.”

– Kunga Denzongpa, CCPH Data & Evaluation Manager

“It was a joy and a privilege to be together with the other co-organizers for the Ways of Knowing Symposia series during the kick-off. The conversations highlighted the overlaps and important points of resonance across our collective expansive approaches to research, from practical notions to important epistemological considerations for the field. Out of necessity from the pandemic, funders have opened up pathways for experts outside of the academy to ground critical research efforts within the wisdom of the community. This can look so many different ways in practice, as highlighted by Joy Williams and Charisse Iglesias during their panel. I look forward to the upcoming symposium, in collaboration with Joy, where thought and action-oriented space can be shared with those that roll up their sleeves and show up for their community, in ways that speak to the heart and the mind, towards a holistically healthier future for all our relations.”

– Paige Castro-Reyes, CCPH Deputy Director