Community Research Advisory Board

Reducing health disparities through research, education, and community engagement

The Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) is a group of faculty and community stakeholders that host monthly meetings to provide consultation to researchers interested in engaging community members in research projects. The CRAB aims to ensure that research studies are culturally sensitive and relevant. 

What is the CRAB?

The CRAB is a body established in 2001 with the mission to advise researchers on how best to engage vulnerable and historically underrepresented populations in problem solving and foster collaboration among those populations and researchers interested in addressing health inequities. 

Who serves on the CRAB?

Community members, service providers, and academics with a shared interest in research being responsive to community needs and being conducted in a culturally appropriate and ethical manner.

How can CRAB benefit you?

Over 90 researchers have presented research proposals or funded research projects to the CRAB seeking guidance on:

  1. development of proposals and study design
  2. minority recruitment
  3. the design and content of recruitment materials
  4. how to address bad research experiences with minority populations
  5. how best to inform underrepresented populations about their research 
  6. developing a systematic recruitment strategy
  7. identifying community organizations for partnered research

CRAB Members

  • Donna Alexander, Women of Vision
    joined 2011
  • Roderick Blair, Homewood Community Member
    joined 2020
  • Carol Brackett, Allegheny County DHS/Area Agency on Aging; Black Women's Policy Center; AKA
    joined 2011
  • Lora Ann Bray, Pitt Public Health CHE
    joined 2014
  • Mario Browne, CRAB Co-Chair; Associate Dean for Equity, Engagement, and Justice at Pitt Pharmacy
    founding member, 2001
  • Aurelia Carter, Community Care Behavioral Health; Disability Advocate
    joined 2013
  • Jackie Dixon, RAD Board; Community Consultant
    founding member, 2001
  • Dr. Patricia I. Documet, Pitt Public Health
    joined 2006
  • Dr. Willa Doswell, Pitt Nursing
    founding member
  • Victoria Garner, CRAB Community Co-Chair; Grants Manager, The Neighborhood Academy
    joined 2018
  • Alaina J. James, Medical Dermatologist Skin Health Equity
    joined 2021
  • Elaine Jenkins, Community Member; Nurse; President, AARP Hill District Chapter
    joined 2011
  • Noble Maseru, Director, Social Justice, Racial Equity and Faculty Engagement, Pitt Schools of the Health Sciences
    joined 2017
  • Dr. Dara Mendez, Pitt Public Health
    joined 2009
  • Dr. Sandra Murray, Pitt Medicine
    founding member
  • Victor Talisa, Doctoral student (BIOST)
    joined 2015
  • Dr. Sharon Taverno Ross, assistant professor, Department of Physical Activity (Pitt)
    joined 2015
  • Lorraine Starsky, Retired ACHD Nurse; Project Destiny
    joined 2019
  • Victor Talisa, Data Scientist, Pitt Department of Critical Care Medicine
    joined 2015
  • Cheryl Walker, Community Liaison in North View Heights
    joined 2019