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2018 CRISP Scholars

The Community Research Innovative Scholars Program (CRISP) is a unique component of the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) Community Engagement and Research Section. CRISP’s primary goal is to support the development of independent University of Massachusetts researchers who conduct community engaged research. Community engaged research involves collaboration with community partners along the translational research continuum. Engaging stakeholders outside of the academy to address complex and pressing societal issues is essential to the production of knowledge and advancement of translational science.

Scholars must commit a minimum of 20% FTE for a one year period, participate in a monthly mentoring group, complete a pilot project, as well as conduct scholarly activity to support and submit an external grant application. The University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) Community Engagement and Research Section designed the program to promote collaboration across the UMass system, as well as provide incentives and create a strong mentoring environment for community-engaged early-career faculty.

The Community Engagement & Research Section of the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is pleased to announce four inaugural Community Research Innovative Scholars:

  • Elizabeth Evans

    Elizabeth Evans

    Elizabeth Evans, PhD, MA is an Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Policy in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She researches how health care systems and public policies can better promote health and wellness among individuals at risk for opioid and other substance use disorders, mental health conditions, and infectious diseases. Most recently, Dr. Evans has focused on the behavioral health of women, investigating the health services utilization and long-term outcomes of women treated for opioid use disorders, gender differences in the health effects of childhood adversity, and the comparative effectiveness of gender sensitive behavioral health care for pregnant and parenting women.  Much of her research has originated from community-partnered multisite longitudinal cohort study designs and mining of linked administrative data provided by health care delivery systems, social services institutions, and criminal justice sources. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of a mixed methods study of gender differences in use and outcomes of complementary and integrative healthcare by military veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain.  Dr. Evans will use the Community Research Innovative Scholars Program (CRISP) award to partner with Mercy Behavioral Health Care to adapt digital storytelling methods for women with opioid use disorders to improve medication assisted treatment utilization and strengthen community integration.


  • Lynn D'Esmond

    Lynn D'Esmond

    Lynn K. D’Esmond is an Assistant Professor in the Community Nursing Department in the College of Nursing at UMass Dartmouth.  Dr. D’Esmond received her PhD from UMass Chan Medical School, Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and her MSHA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia.  Prior to her current position at UMass Dartmouth Dr. D’Esmond held various nursing administration, quality and risk management positions. This background stimulated her interest in improving the patient experience while also increasing the staff satisfaction.  This led to the primary focus of her work to improve patient safety by decreasing preventable errors due to distracted practice.  

  • Amy Cook

    Amy Cook

    Amy Cook is an assistant professor in the Counseling and School Psychology Department, College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut Storrs. She has worked in urban schools and mental health agencies, providing counseling services to students and families. Her research interests focus on reducing inequalities in educational outcomes and promoting positive youth development through community-engaged research with youth in partner schools and organizations. She is committed to using scholarly research in a manner that advances shared collaboration and educational equity. 

  • Sarah Camhi

    Sarah Camhi

    Sarah M Camhi, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her program of research examines the associations between lifestyle behaviors, obesity and cardiometabolic risk. More specifically, her research has examined the role of physical activity, sedentary behavior and/or diet in modifying cardiometabolic risk within obese individuals across the lifespan. The CRISP award will be used in conjunction with the non-profit organization Healthworks Community Fitness in Dorchester, MA, to explore barriers and challenges related to participation in exercise prescription programs from health care providers for urban African American women. This needs assessment would inform future exercise prescription programming that is culturally sensitive, relevant and appropriate in order to ultimately improve health.