Using Garden Cafés to engage community stakeholders in health research

Joyce E. Balls-Berry, Pamela S. Sinicrope, Miguel A. Valdez Soto, Monica L. Albertie, Rene Lafflam, Brittny T. Major-Elechi, Young J. Juhn, Tabetha A. Brockman, Martha J. Bock, Christi A. Patten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Science Cafés, informal venues to promote bidirectional dialog, inquiry and learning about science between community members, scientists, healthcare and service providers, hold promise as an innovative tool for healthcare researchers and community members to improve health outcomes, especially among populations with health disparities. However, the process of optimizing science cafés is under-studied. We describe the pilot evaluation of a series of Science Cafés, called Garden Cafés (n = 9), conducted from September 2015 through April 2016 in Olmsted County, MN and Duval County, FL to connect Mayo Clinic researchers and local service providers with the community. Selection of discussion topics was guided by a county health needs assessment, which identified community priorities. Before leaving the events, community participants completed a brief anonymous survey assessing sociodemographics and their knowledge of research benefits, readiness to participate as a partner in health research, and health and science literacy confidence. Of the 112 attendees who responded, 51% were female and 51% were Black. Respondents reported that participating in the event significantly improved (all at p<0.001) their understanding on all three measures. Preliminary findings suggest that Garden Cafés are an effective forum to increase community understanding and disposition to collaborate in health research, especially in members from diverse backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0200483
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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