• Open Access

Community Conceptualizations of Health: Implications for Transdisciplinary Team Science


Linda S. Martinez (Linda.Martinez@tufts.edu)


Objective: This exploratory study set out to identify how communities in the Tufts University Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) catchment area define health-related research priority areas.

Methods: Three focus groups comprising community stakeholders were conducted in three communities. Participants were representatives from community-based organizations and health centers. A systematic content analysis was performed that involved the identification, labeling, and categorization of data followed by thematic analysis.

Results: Participant conceptualizations of health and health priorities were not formulated in the context of specific disease conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, or asthma. Instead, participants described contextual factors including social, environmental, economic, and political conditions that influence health and health behavior.

Conclusions: Respondents in the Tufts University CTSI catchment area, like many diverse urban communities, described multiple interconnected social determinants of health and well-being. As such, they were interested in research that focuses on “upstream” areas of intervention as opposed to disease prevention at the individual level. In addition, respondents were interested in research that would catalyze community change. Clin Trans Sci 2011; Volume 4: 163–167