The Community Engagement Core (CEC) works with the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention at the University of Houston (UH) to address community-identified health challenges by rapidly disseminating scientific breakthroughs and data-driven best practices that leverage sustainable and equitable partnerships with community stakeholders.


The Community Advisory Board (CAB) and Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) are groups within the CEC comprising community stakeholders. These groups work with the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention to strategically guide its focus and scope; provide community contribution to the design, execution, and dissemination of our sponsored research; and ensure that all of our communities have information and access to resources to promote lifelong health. The overall goal of the CEC is to develop and maintain strong community relationships and to advance the inclusion of our diverse community members in cutting-edge health research to address addictions and cancer disparities.


Resources provided by the CEC are directed toward both community members and HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention affiliated investigators. Available services and resources are broadly categorized within: (1) Project Design Expertise; (2) Project Execution Expertise; (3) Dissemination Expertise; and (4) Community Outreach.


See our “CEC one-pager” below to learn more about the services we offer to affiliated investigators and community stakeholders.


The Community Advisory Board (CAB) consists of prominent community leaders across various sectors in the greater Houston area. The CAB works closely with the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention Administrative Core for strategic planning to ensure we are well-positioned to meet our diverse communities' needs in the areas of addiction research and cancer prevention. Click here to learn more about the CAB.


The Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) encompasses a diverse group of community stakeholders, who are addiction advocates, cancer survivors/caregivers, or otherwise passionate about addressing unique health challenges that disproportionately burden community members. CRAB members serve as "community scientists," providing affiliated investigators with feedback about their research projects from conception (research question) and design through disseminating results. 


The CRAB members receive training from the CEC regarding research ethics, design, execution, and the importance of confidentiality regarding research projects. Thereafter, CRAB members provide their knowledge, experience, and insights in the review of research projects to:

  • ensure cultural appropriateness of the research questions, measures/assessments used;

  • confirm relevance of the protocol to the best interests of the targeted community or communities;

  • problem-solve issues and potential barriers pertaining to study design and implementation;

  • optimize participant recruitment strategies and materials;

  • optimize participant retention strategies; and/or

  • ensure results and their implications are disseminated back to the communities in an understandable way.


The CRAB convenes two times monthly to meet with investigators. See our "CRAB one-pager" below for more information and our CRAB Services Request Form for upcoming meeting dates and to receive CRAB services. Click here to learn more about the CRAB.


Interested in getting services from CEC?

Please review our CEC one-pager for more information; download and complete the CEC Services Request Form, located below, according to directions, and we will be in touch!

Interested in getting services from CRAB?

Please complete the CRAB Services Request Form, located below, according to directions, and we will be in touch!

Does your community or your agency have an upcoming event you would like us to attend? Are you seeking health promotion expertise and health screening services?

Please complete the CEC Services Request Form below with applicable information, and we will be in touch!

Does your community or your agency have specific training needs or need an expert speaker in addiction and cancer prevention?

Please complete the CEC Services Request Form below with more information about your needs and we will be in touch!

Do you have other general questions not covered here?

Please send us a message by clicking here



Are you a student who wants to volunteer to gain research or community outreach experience?

Click here

Are you a community member who wants to volunteer for our community outreach activities?

Click here

Are you a community member or leader interested in serving on the CAB or CRAB?


Would you like to sign up to receive our newsletter to learn more about what we do?

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CEC services offered to affiliated investigators and affiliated community stakeholders

CEC one-pager

CEC services and resources for community members and affiliated investigators

CEC services request form

Frequently asked questions about the CRAB

CRAB details

CRAB services and resources for affiliated investigators

CRAB services request form



Dr. LeChauncy D. Woodard


LeChauncy Woodard, MD, MPH, is a general internist and Professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Science at the University of Houston College of Medicine. She also serves as the Founding Director of the Humana Integrated Health Systems Sciences Institute, a partnership between the University of Houston and Humana, Inc. The institute’s goal is to advance the next generation of health professionals through interdisciplinary training focusing on social needs, risk factors, and determinants of health, and expanded use of value-based payment models. As a clinician-educator and health services researcher, Dr. Woodard has extensive interprofessional team-based care experience, quality improvement, and patient safety. Her research focuses on performance measurement and improving quality of care for chronically ill, multimorbid adults through team-based behavioral health interventions to enhance collaborative goal-setting. She is currently working to mitigate COVID-19 disparities as a collaborator in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) against COVID-19. For this Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) at UH, Dr. Woodard will utilize her clinical expertise to promote community health transformation and advance high-impact research dissemination efforts of the Center’s projects.


Dr. Lorraine R. Reitzel

Inaugural Director (Year 1)

Isabel Martinez Leal, PhD

Qualitative Scientist


Brian Carter

Program Coordinator (part-time)

Hector Sanchez

Community Education and Outreach Coordinator

Melisa Meza

Community Education and Outreach Coordinator