“The purpose of the Indiana CTSI Community Health Engagement Program is to bring the community into research and research into the community,” Parker-Sawyers said. “I look forward to working with our partners across the state to inform them about research driven by the Indiana CTSI, right in our own backyard, which translates into real benefits for the community.”
The Indiana CTSI Community Health Engagement Program partners with more than 200 government, industry, nonprofit and community-based organizations in Indiana. The program aims to create mutually trusting, mutually respectful partnerships between communities and academics to pursue projects that can improve the health of residents of Indiana.
This includes twoyears of small grants for health-enhancing projects between community organizations and academic researchers. Examples include:
A partnership between the IU School of Medicine and HealthNet to incorporate health goals into a community development strategy at Avondale Meadows, a community on the east side of Indianapolis.
A coalition between the Indianapolis Urban League and Purdue University to implement curriculum that promotes healthy habits at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School.
As program manager for the Indiana CTSI CHEP, Parker-Sawyers is responsible for managing services provided by the program as well as encouraging strong community relationships, not just those defined by geography but also communities based on shared medical conditions or health care needs.
Before joining the Indiana CTSI, Parker-Sawyers served as the senior director of outreach and partnerships at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in Washington, D.C., where she was responsible for identifying and securing strategic partnerships to advance the organization’s mission.
She has also served as the executive director of the Indiana Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and director of the Friendly Access Program at the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.
At Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, she has been the associate director of the Polis Center, special assistant to the chancellor, director of the Office of Neighborhood Resources and a program director at the IU Center on Philanthropy. In addition, she served as the executive director of the Association of Black Foundation Executives during her time at the IU Center on Philanthropy.
Parker-Sawyers holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Master of Public Administration with a concentration in non-profit organizations from IU.
The Indiana CTSI is a statewide collaboration of Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, as well as other public-private partners, which facilitates the translation of scientific discoveries in the lab into clinical trials and new patient treatments in Indiana and beyond. It was established in 2008 with a $25 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science at the National Institutes of Health, grants TR000006, TR000163 and TR000162, with additional support from the state, the three member universities, and public and private donors. It is a member of a national network of 60 CTSA-funded organizations across the country.