Background: While rural health research has increased over the last two decades, there is limited understanding of the self-reported health priorities and research interests of rural and suburban community-based representatives and residents. These insights can be used to inform more successful intervention strategies that are responsive to the lived experiences of local residents and leaders who are the gatekeepers to buy-in and sustainability of community engaged research. The Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance, a collaboration between four academic institutions includes a Community Engagement Program (CE) designed to facilitate community-academic research partnerships. This study aimed to assess the health priorities, community-academic research experience, and interests of community respondents outside of Metropolitan Atlanta through the Community Engagement Facilitation Survey (CEFS).

Methods: CE Program and Community Steering Board created the CEFS to assess the health topic priorities, research experience, and interests of community-based representatives and community members across the state of Georgia. The 11-item survey was administered (paper and electronic surveys) statewide at community events and professional organization meetings. Descriptive statistics were analyzed, and geospatial mapping was conducted. Data were analyzed in SPSS and Microsoft Excel software systems to clean data and to calculate data counts and percentages. Three maps were created in Tableau Version 19.2 depicting all counties represented by the survey sample superimposed with the counties from which at least one respondent indicated each of the top three health priorities for this sample.

Results: Four-hundred six (406) surveys were analyzed, representing 83.6% of rural and suburban Georgia counties. The most frequently identified health priorities and research interests were diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and mental health.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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