Doug Brugge, professor of public health and family medicine at the School of Medicine was recently named chairperson of the Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section at the National Institute of Heath’s (NIH) Center for Scientific Review.

This Study Section reviews clinical NIH applications which examine community-level health interventions – such as studies which investigate the impact of social, cultural or other socio-environmental factors on a broad range of mental and physical health topics.

“Doug Brugge has emerged as a leader and visionary in community-engaged research, at Tufts and nationally,” said Harris A. Berman, Dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine. “His research accomplishments, national reputation, and devotion to community-based research led to this appointment. It brings prestige to the institution and visibility to the extraordinary community-based research going on across the schools of Tufts.”

A distinguished scholar in community-based participatory research, Brugge serves as faculty co-chair of the Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC), which he founded as his Tisch Faculty Fellows project in 2005. With support from Tisch College, TCRC seeks to engage faculty and students from all Tufts schools in research projects designed and implemented in partnership with local communities.

Brugge’s dedication to community health can be seen through one of his recent and ongoing studies, Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH).  The study began when Brugge was approached by community members from the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP) who were concerned about the health effects of living near highways. Though he’d previously done little work in this area, Brugge quickly became an expert – learning from partner organizations in Somerville and Chinatown and collaborating with faculty from the School of Engineering to design and implement studies on this topic.

Though not all studies reviewed by the NIH Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section are specifically community-based participatory research studies, it is this type of engaged scholarship which has distinguished Brugge’s work.

“Members of the Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline,” explained Richard Nakamura, Acting Director of the Center for Scientific Review.  “This is evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.”

Brugge, who first served as a member of the study section, will take over the chairmanship in July 2012.

Originally published March 2012