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LA CaTS Community Scholars Program (LaCOSP)


The goal of the LaCoSP is to increase the capacity of community-academic partnerships to conduct community engaged research with mutual ownership of the processes and products, and with the ultimate goal of improving the health of residents of Louisiana and the nation.   LACoSP pilot projects are intended to inform future grant applications by each LaCoSP team for state, federal, foundation and other sponsor funding considerations. 


The LaCoSP, which is an adaptation of the Community Engaged Scholars (CES) Program by the MUSC College of Nursing Center for Community Health Partnerships and the MUSC South Carolina Clinical Translational Research (SCTR) Institute, was developed by the LA CaTS Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEO Core). Because of the implementation of the LaCOSP, researchers are now more incentivized to move out of their “comfort zone” of traditional biomedical research, and community members are better able to generate research ideas and devote time in building research skills. The LaCOSP was in first launched in January 2016 with the first call for applications.


  • Increase academic research investigators’ participation in community engaged research.
  • Promote collaboration and trusted partnership between community-based organizations addressing health disparities and translational researchers within the LA CaTS Center institutions.
  • Fund multiple PIs (Community Academic) pilot projects relative to community needs, which are congruent to the goals, mission and vision of the LA CaTS Center.
  • Stimulate subsequent research funding, projects and peer-reviewed publications.

Overview and Competencies

The Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEO) is accepting applications for LA CaTS Community Scholars Program (LaCoSP), Cohort 6 (2024-2025). The program provides formal training and pilot project funds for teams comprised of a community and an academic partner interested in conducting community-engaged research (CEnR) studies. 

Participants successfully completing LaCoSP, will have the skills to:

  1. Articulate the concepts and components of CBPR and other methods for community engaged research
  2. Apply community engagement principles in the conduct of research
  3. Communicate with audiences in both community and academic settings about community engagement principles and components
  4. Design and implement a pilot community engagement study to address a shared community health priority
  5. Incorporate community engagement principles and approaches in funding applications
  6. Develop a 3-4 years plan for subsequent community engagement research funding based on pilot results

Team Structure

Each team must consist of at least one community partner and one academic partner.

An academic partner is an individual(s) with a faculty appointment at any LA CaTS Institutions, including Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Health-New Orleans, Tulane University, Children’s Hospital, LSU A&M, Xavier University of Louisiana, LSU Health-Shreveport, or Ochsner Health.

A community partner is defined as an individual(s) who maintains a primary affiliation (employed full time) with a community organization and who is not affiliated with an academic and/or healthcare institution.  For the purpose of this program, community organization is defined as an organization that has:

  1. a documented interest in improving the health of the relevant community (e.g., a mission statement); and
  2. a history of serving the health needs and interests of the relevant community.

These organizations may include, but are not limited to public schools, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, community-based health provider organizations and/or advocacy groups. 


  • The intent is to foster community organizations to conduct research. Community partners with high prior research experience will not be allowed to apply as the community principal investigator.
  • Considering the size of this program, proposals considering clinical trials are not allowed


Contact the LA CaTS Community Engagement and Outreach Core (Xavier University office) at 504-520-6719/ 

LaCOSP Awardees

2023-2024 Cohort 5 LA CaTS Community Scholars

Title of Project

Academic Partner

Community Partner

Supporting the Mental Health Needs of Those Living with Traumatic Brain Injury & their Care Partners

Matthew Calamia, PhD, LSU A&M

Kimberly Hill, MS, Brain Injury Association of Louisiana

Getting their Hands Dirty: Urban Gardening as a Platform to Introduce Health Promotion Behaviors in Preschoolers

Shelly Dolan, DNP, LSU Health New Orleans

Andreas Hoffman, Greenlight NOLA

2020-2021 Cohort 4 LA CaTS Community Scholars

Title of Project

Academic Partner

Community Partner

Evaluating Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCFE) Support in a Low Breastfeeding Population

Tyra Gross, PhD, Xavier University

Malaika Ludman, MPH, New Orleans Breastfeeding Center

Empowering Me: An educational initiative addressing domestic violence during COVID-19

Margarita Echeverri, PhD, Xavier University

Mariana Montero. MBA, MSc Golden Change, Inc.

Simple Text-Messaging And Social Support to Increase Hypertension Medication Adherence in New Orleans, LA (TEXT MY MEDS NOLA)

Keith Ferdinand, MD,
Tulane University School of Medicine

Daphne Ferdinand, PhD, RN Healthy Heart Community Prevention Project, Inc.

Modification of Early Childhood Education Center s Outdoor Setting for Toddler Health

Chelsea Kracht, PhD, Pennington Biomedical

Michelle Grantham-Caston, PhD, LSU Early Childhood Education Lab

2019-2020 Cohort 3 LA CaTS Community Scholars

Title of Project

Academic Partner

Community Partner

Addressing Diabetes Prevention and Management in Churches- SmartChurch Pilot

Robert Newton, PhD, Pennington Biomedical

Kenri Avery Onteryl Carney
Bethel AME Church

* African-American Churches, Researchers, Providers and the Community Working Together to Reduce HIV in the New Orleans Area

Celestine Carter, APRN, DNS Arlisha Mason, MSN, PhD, LSUHSC-New Orleans, School of Nursing

Reverend Dr. James Turner Pastor Torin Sanders, PhD, LCSW
NOLA Area African-American Churches HIV Coalition

2018-2019 Cohort 2 LA CaTS Community Scholars

Title of Project

Academic Partner

Community Partner

Exploring Patient, Caregiver, and Healthcare Provider Perceptions of Caring for Patients with Heart Failure: What are the Implications?

Betty Kennedy, PhD
Pennington Biomedical

Vijayendra Jaligam, MD
JenCare Senior Medical Center

Trauma Informed Care, Grief and Suicide prevention

Samantha Francois, PhD
Tulane University

Kathy Litchfield
Reconcile New Orleans, Inc / Caf Reconcile

2016-2017 Cohort 1 LA CaTS Community Scholars

Pilot Study Title

Academic Partner

Community Partner

Quantification of Lead Levels in New Orleans Drinking Water

Adrienne Katner, DEnv
LSUHSC School of Public Health

Dawn Marie Hurt, MS
Southern United Neighborhoods

* Impact of Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) in ASCVD Risk Assessment and Impact of Education on Behavioral ASCVD Risk Factors

Gholam Ali, MD
Tulane University School of Medicine

Daphne Ferdinand, PhD, RN
Healthy Heart Community Prevention Project, Inc.

* Peer Support and Mentoring Among Adolescent Parents

S. Amanda Dumas, MD, MSc
LSUHSC School Of Medicine

Miriam Campbell, MPH
Health Start New Orleans

Supporting Mental Health during Pregnancy Beyond

Gloria Giarratano, MSN, PhD
LSUHSC School of Nursing

Mary L. Alexander, MSW
Healthy Start New Orleans

Community Based Participatory Research into Barriers Facilitators of Participation in Intensive Diabetic Lifestyle Modification Programs

Paula Brantley, PhD
Mary T. Coleman, MD, PhD
LSUHSC Dept. of Family Medicine

Erica Halpern
YMCA of Greater New Orleans




* Proposed Project