The Roxbury Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) consists of community leaders and residents whose goal is to improve community understanding of and responsiveness to community-based and clinical research. Membership on the Board is by election.


The CRAB is a bridge connecting Roxbury residents to research institutions in a mutually beneficial effort to increase knowledge and promote understanding about how community-based participatory research can help eliminate disparities in health and health care, thereby improving the health and well-being of people of color and the poor.


The Roxbury CRAB was started in 2005, by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Cherishing Our Hearts and Souls Coalition as a neighborhood level infrastructure for review and advising on research conducted in the community. The Board moved to the University of Massachusetts Boston in June 2009 as part of the HORIZON Center to eliminate health disparities. Since its inception, the Board has been involved in advising local researchers, advocacy for research ethics and the elimination of health disparities, and training activities to improve community knowledge and engagement in research.

The activities of CRAB include:
  • Advocacy on issues of disparities in health and healthcare, research ethics, and factors that affect the inclusion of the medically underserved
  • Advisory role to researchers regarding issues of recruitment, retention, and ethical considerations of research study design
  • Information dissemination about disparities, community based research, and other topics that impact the health of area residents


Standing Committees of CRAB:

Advocacy and Policy

The Advocacy and Policy committee advises CRAB on local, state, and federal legislative and policy issues. The committee spearheads the exploration of possible pathways to communication coordination with the large regulatory and legislative forums affecting the health and access to care for Roxbury residents. When directed by guidance from the membership of CRAB, the committee connects with, and whenever possible collaborates with, projects, commissions, and panels that are investigating, proposing, or advocating improvements to the systems that serve the Roxbury populations.

Education and Training

The mission is to educate Board members about the different types of research conducted and to train the Board to evaluate the effectiveness of community-based research so that they can be competent ambassadors and serve as liaisons between the community and those conducting research.

Community Outreach and Information Dissemination

The Community Outreach and Information Dissemination subcommittee is committed to reaching out to all residents of the Roxbury neighborhood to increase the awareness and better educate residents about health disparities through information dissemination and partnerships with various groups to improve community understanding and responsiveness to clinical research.