“The IRL Way”: Reflections from Faculty and Fellows
As Interdisciplinary Research Leaders fellows enter their fourth year of building a Culture of Health, a recent article highlights the many ways that teams have uncovered novel, collaborative approaches to research and community engagement.
In the latest issue of Advances in Public Health—a publication of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health—author Sarah Haugen offers insight into this uniquely innovative program through the eyes of current fellows and faculty.
Now in its third year, the program is changing the game for fellows with a method IRL Director Michael Oakes calls the “IRL way.”
“In academia, we often develop ideas, do the research, and then let the findings disseminate on their own. Rarely does our work get outside of academic circles,” says Oakes, who is also associate vice president for research at the University of Minnesota.
Instead, the IRL way encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, working closely with the community, and ensuring research can be put into action. “IRL fellows partner with the people they aim to help and get a rich understanding of that community,” says Oakes. “This makes research questions better and study findings easier for communities to put into action.”
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(Photo credit: Mandy LaBreche)