The Community Engagement and Outreach Core (CEO Core) is pleased to announce the Cohort 3 awardees of the Louisiana Community Scholars Program: 

Robert Newton, PhD — Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Felisa Carpenter—Oasis Christian Church

Project title: “SmartChurch Pilot”

  • This team will use an enhanced technology church-based weight loss intervention (SmartChurch) for African-Americans to address obesity, a significant health issue in the African American community. 

Celestine Carter, APRN, DNS, Arlisha Mason, MSN, PhD — LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing and Reverend Dr. James Turner, Pastor Torin Sanders, PhD, LCSW— NOLA Area African-American Churches HIV Coalition

Project titleAfrican-American Churches, Researchers, Providers, and the Community Working Together to Reduce HIV in the New Orleans Area” 

  • This team will seek to answer "How can churches have an impact on the rate of new HIV cases in the New Orleans area?" They aim to increase the proportion of African-Americans who have been tested for HIV and other STDs, of those in treatment, and of HIV-negative African-Americans who engage in risk-reduction

Both awardee teams include an Academic PI and a Community PI as well as other assisting partners and will work towards improving these health disparities over the course of a year, through the LA CoSP (LA CaTS Community Scholars Program) pilot funding. Awardee teams complete didactic training components, receive CBPR mentorship, and are scheduled to complete their projects in June 2020. 

The purpose of LA CoSP is to increase the capacity of community-academic partners to conduct community-engaged research with mutual ownership of the processes and products, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of residents of Louisiana and the nation. LA CoSP aims to promote collaboration and trusted partnership between community-based organizations addressing health disparities and translational researchers within LA CaTS, and to provide opportunities for community-academic partners to stimulate subsequent research funding, projects and peer-reviewed publications

For more information on the LA CaTS Community Scholars Program, visit or contact us a