Cores and Programs

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Community Engaged Research Core

June-Group-pix_edited.jpgThe obesity epidemic in Mississippi cannot be addressed without research and intervention at the community level. All three MCCTR institutions have strengths in community-engaged research, as do our consortium partners, the LACaTS Center and the Mayo Clinic CCaTS. Drs. Carol Connell and Jennifer Robinson lead the CEnR Core and oversee the CEnR Institute, the multi-institutional CEnR Working Group, and Community Advisory Board.

Community Engaged Research Institute

The MCCTR proudly offers an annual one-week residential Community Engaged Research (CEnR) Institute that trains selected junior faculty members from all major Mississippi universities in the principles and practice of CEnR, and offers opportunities for them to compete for funding for obesity-related pilot research projects. Thus in addition to training junior investigators from partner institutions in independent obesity-focused CEnR, the CEnR Institute helps to identify promising CEnR investigators for support through the MCCTR Pilot Projects Program.

Photo: Core Co-Directors, Dr. Carol Connell (front row, right) and Dr. Jennifer Robinson (back row, right) are shown with the 2019 CEnR Institute participants at the University of Southern Mississippi's Trent Lott Center in Hattiesburg, MS .

Community Engaged Research Working Group

The multi-institutional CEnR Working Group holds monthly teleconferences to present ongoing and completed community-engaged research projects, discuss available resources and research options, and seek opportunities for multi-institutional obesity research projects and funding. To become involved with the CEnR Working Group, contact                              

Core leadership

Community Engaged Research Core Leaders
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Carol Connell, PhD, RD, Co-Director of the Community Engaged Research Core, Principal Investigator for USM site

Dr. Connell is Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi.


Jennifer Robinson, PhD, RN, Co-Director of the Community Engaged Research Core

Dr. Robinson is Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship in the School of Nursing at UMMC.


Wendy White, PhD, Co-Director of the Community Engaged Research Institute, Principal Investigator for the Tougaloo site

Dr. White is the Principal Investigator and Director for the Jackson Heart Study Undergraduate Training and Education Center at Tougaloo College.