Quick Links
Connect with Us
Need Help? Have a Question?

For Clinical & Community Partners

For Clinical & Community Partners

The ITHS Community Engagement program is committed to facilitating community-academic research partnerships in eastern Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) that are true collaborations. We aim to increase community involvement in every stage of research. We promote research that will address priorities and health outcomes in the communities and practices we work with, and support these communities in becoming more engaged and savvy about research. We work to understand the translational research interests, strengths and needs in the WWAMI region so that we can effectively facilitate multi-directional collaboration and exchange between academic, clinical and community-based institutions and organizations, and help support the development of a vibrant translational research community.

Community Engagement Program Overview

All ITHS programs interact with regional constituents in significant ways, but the Community Engagement Program focuses on:

  • Advising ITHS on alignment of its programs and services with regional translational science efforts and priorities, and advocates on issues of regional importance
  • Creating opportunities through which representatives from the WWAMI region’s universities, clinical organizations, and community partners can convene to discuss issues of importance to advancing translational science
  • Facilitating the incorporation of diverse perspectives, and development of effective partnerships between ITHS and regional representatives on impact projects, and science-on-science or team science initiatives
  • Collaborating with our regional partners to identify and address barriers inhibiting translational science
  • Promoting access to translational science resources, education, mentorship and collaboration across the WWAMI region

The ITHS and the Community Engagement Program meet its goals through:

  • Remote educational offerings
  • Engaging regional investigators as active team members on impact projects, strategic planning committees, and other initiatives
  • Maintaining an active advisory workgroup
  • Creating clinical and community-based research networks
  • Providing research resources
  • Facilitating connections between investigators and prospective research collaborators
  • Collecting data about and reporting on regional research needs and priorities

ITHS develops networks.

  • We form and help build research networks, within American Indian, Alaska Native, and Latino communities, and primary care clinical practices in the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) states.

ITHS makes collaborations happen.

  • We connect our partners with resources and researchers

ITHS searches out priorities.

  • We ask communities and practices what research priorities are of the most interest and importance to them.

ITHS build tools.

  • We collaborate with communities and practices to find out what resources are needed, and then build, distribute and support research tools and strategies.
  • We are dedicated to creating clinically- and culturally-appropriate shared resources for research that make the most sense for the communities we work with.

ITHS mentors and trains.

  • We provide and contribute to training and educating researchers in community engaged research.
  • We learn about the research, training, and analytic needs of the communities and practices we work with, and we respond to those needs.

ITHS spreads the word and provides funding.

  • We manage two pilot funding programs to foster research with and by communities.
  • We advocate for translational research in collaboration with communities and practices in national CTSA settings and in the WWAMI region.
  • We develop and leverage partnerships for funding between the ITHS and practice/community-based researchers.
Our Team


Laura-Mae Baldwin, MD, MPH, Director

Dr. Baldwin is Co-Director of the ITHS Regional Collaborations Program, is a Professor in the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine, and is a Senior Investigator in the University of Washington’s Rural Health Research Center. She has developed and is the Director of the WWAMI-region Practice and Research Network (WPRN). This practice-based research network has more than 35 primary care clinics in the five-state WWAMI region. A subset of 17 of these clinics participate in a data-sharing infrastructure (Data QUEST) that leverages their electronic health record data. Dr. Baldwin is also a practicing family physician with strong ties to teaching programs in the WWAMI states. Dr. Baldwin’s research focuses on access to and quality of health care in diverse underserved and rural areas.

Key support personnel

Allison Cole, MD, MPH

Dr. Cole is an Assistant Professor in Family Medicine in the Research Section and a practicing family physician. Dr. Cole’s research focuses on primary care practice-based research and systematic approaches to reducing cancer screening disparities. Prior to joining the department she practiced at a Community Health Center in the Seattle area for almost five years and then completed a two-year NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship.

Gina Keppel, MPH

Ms. Keppel is a Research Scientist in the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine. She possesses more than 10 years of experience as a study coordinator and data analyst. She is the primary contact for the WWAMI region Practice and Research Network (WPRN) Coordinating Center. For the last five years, she has supported the development of the WPRN and its research infrastructure, and continues to work closely with the WPRN and regional partners to engage clinical practices in research. Ms. Keppel is also part of the Data QUEST team and facilitates Data QUEST projects with WPRN member sites.

Eric Larson, MD, MPH

Dr. Larson is the Executive Director of the Group Health Research Institute and was formerly the Medical Director of the University of Washington Hospital. Dr. Larson understands the challenges of conducting research from both the UW and community perspectives. He has led the Society of General Internal Medicine, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and the American College of Physicians Board of Regents. His research interests range from Alzheimer’s disease to technology assessment and quality improvement.

Jessica Ridpath, BA

Ms. Ridpath has more than seven years of experience helping health researchers and other health care professional improve the readability and format of print and web-based materials. She is the lead writer, editor, and trainer for the Program for Readability In Science & Medicine (PRISM), a plain language initiative founded at Group Health Research Institute in 2005. With support from ITHS, Ms. Ridpath developed PRISM Online Training, a free, Web-based plain language tutorial for researchers that launched in October 2010.

Lisa Temposky, BA

Ms. Temposky is a Research Project Manager at the Group Health Research Institute with extensive experience in managing complex, transdisciplinary research projects. She currently works closely with the Hispanic Community Liaison to connect the Hispanic community with researchers. Her experience includes projects in women’s health, energetics, and cancer research. Ms. Temposky’s interests lie in public administration, health policy, and their relevance in addressing health disparities in minority communities.

Ron Whitener, JD

Squaxin Island Tribe Professor Whitener is Assistant Director of the UW Native American Law Center (NALC), and consults with communities and researchers on data dissemination and publication issues, research regulation, and tribal sovereignty. He teaches the UW’s Tribal Public Defense Clinic, a clinical course representing low-income Natives in criminal cases and teaches various courses in the field of Indian and health law. He provides research regulation expertise to ITHS community outreach core’s Locally Controlled Data QUEST pilot project.


There is generally no charge for Community Engagement consultations and initial consultations are free. Hourly consultation fees or designated effort for ITHS personnel should be included in grant applications for projects that anticipate the need for ongoing ITHS support. Consultation costs and effort percentages are negotiable and are subject to the availability of personnel and resources.

Getting Started

Getting Started

Cite ITHSThe Institute is supported by grants UL1 TR002319, KL2 TR002317, and TL1 TR002318 from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program (CTSA).

Please help us continue to support your research by citing our grant number(s) in publications we supported.