CHIRP Background & Funding

CHIP: A Community Engagement Model

This new project is built on a model of community engagement known as Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP). This model engages diverse community members in the entire process of community health development – from deciding what health issues are most important to making local changes that improve the health of their friends and neighbors. 

Community members are involved as both decision makers and leaders. The health issues addressed by these groups vary, as each community prioritizes their own health needs and develops action plans that take local resources into account. 

CHIP has been implemented at over 100 sites nationally, including 12 in rural Oregon. Examples of projects done by Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) groups across Oregon include:

  • Operating cancer support groups
  • Identifying gaps in health care expertise and recruiting health care professionals to fill those gaps
  • Using health coaching for weight loss
  • Creating school-based clinics and increasing access to immunizations
  • Building community trails and gardens
  • Facilitating outreach to children's health insurance programs and Medicaid enrollment


This new program builds on the success of CHIP by add a research training component and match making with academic partners. Hence the name: CHIP to CHIRP, Community Health Improvement Research Partnership.

CHIP has already proven successful in engaging local communities in addressing health issues. The next logical next step is to provide a way for communities to learn about the research process and how to partner with academic researchers to further enhance their efforts via translational research. Many CHIP groups have identified compelling research questions, and CHIRP provides a way for them to establish research partnerships that are participatory and collaborative.


This one-year project has three aims.

Aim 1: CHIP to CHIRP (Community Health Improvement and Research Partnership) Transition

Transform four community-based health coalitions in rural Oregon into receptive community health research partners with the capacity to do community-based participatory research (CBPR).

Aim 2: Academic Engagement

Increase the capacity of academic researchers to understand and engage in collaborative community-based research with rural communities and patients.

Aim 3: CHIRP Toolbox

Collaborate with three CTSAs to develop and disseminate effective tools for CTSAs and PBRNs to create research partnerships between academics and rural communities.


The CHIP to CHIRP program  is part of a the Community Research Enhancement & Education Development (CREED) projects, which was awarded as a Community Engagement supplement from the National Center for Research Resources within the National Institutes of Health. The award was granted to OHSU's Clinical & Translational Science Award program, known at OHSU as the Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute (OCTRI). Eric Orwoll, M.D. is the principal investigator of the grant that supports OCTRI.

The project is administered by the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN).  

Co-investigators who are involved in the strategic and operational program activities include:

  • Lyle J. Fagnan, M.D., ORPRN Director
  • Melinda Davis, Ph.D., ORPRN Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
  • Paul McGinnis, M.P.A., ORPRN Community Health & Practice Development Director
  • David Buckley, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
  • Richard A. Deyo, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Family Medicine, Director of the OCTRI Community & Practice Research Program