Community Partners Research Ethics Training

The Community Partner Research Ethics Training (CPRET) and certification is intended for community partners who are actively involved in research with human subjects to learn about conducting research that is ethical and safe. The CTSI Community PARTners (Community Engagement Core) in collaboration with the Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) and Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) developed a research ethics training for community partners involved in research studies.

CPRET ensures that community partners have a basic understanding of the following topics:

  • Introduction to research and the purpose of research
  • Understanding specific case scenarios related to research ethics and conduct when working
  • Brief history of research and the development of research ethic principles
  • Overview of IRB and regulations for research and protection of human subjects
  • Definitions and rules of research conduct

CPRET was designed to help principal investigators tailor research ethics training for a specific study and to encourage dialogue with community members who will participate on the research team. This training is particularly relevant for investigators engaged in clinical and translational research involving community stakeholders. Investigators have the opportunity to create and discuss scenarios that may arise in the course of their specific study while ensuring that Core research ethics principles (e.g., autonomy, beneficence, and justice) are defined and reviewed.


CPRET in Practice: A Collaborative Approach to Certification

This paper describes the development of the CPRET.

Is CPRET right for your study?

Learn more about our process with these video modules.

A yellow envelope, indicating you can contact us

 Please contact with any questions about how to use this training.


Training Materials

CPRET materials provide a detailed description of how to design, implement, and evaluate this study-specific, community-academic partnered research ethics training and certification. Prior to any implementation, the institution and/or investigator should submit the packet materials, training agenda documents, and forms to their home institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for review. Each IRB may have different requirements for community member participation on a research team. Investigators should work closely with their institution’s IRB to tailor these materials to be in line with their IRB’s regulations.

Creative Commons:

The Community Partners Research Ethics Training (CPRET) materials and PowerPoint presentations are made available to the public subject to the following Creative Commons License: Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License. Accordingly, the materials and PowerPoint presentations may be downloaded, duplicated, transmitted, and otherwise distributed for educational or research purposes only, provided proper credits are given to the University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), Community PARTners Core.

Use of any of the CPRET materials and presentations for commercial purposes is strictly forbidden without the permission or license of the University of Pittsburgh. For further information on commercial use of the CPRET materials and presentations, contact the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Technology Management at 412-648-2206.

HRPO Approval

This training and certification program is approved by the University of Pittsburgh HRPO. Please e-mail the CTSI Community PARTners (Community Engagement Core) at for further assistance to process your IRB approval.


"I utilized CPRET as a way of including community partners as research team members on one of our studies. Facilitating the CPRET training with them meant that we conveyed to them our belief that they were valued members of our research team who brought their own unique expertise, while also ensuring that they were knowledgeable about conducting research in an ethical and safe way. We heard from some community partners that while they had had some experience in research in the past, participating in the CPRET training gave them a context in which to put our current work. It also gave us a framework in which to present some of the practical concerns that can arise when conducting research in the community and to brainstorm ways of problem-solving these challenges in a way that was tailored to our project and setting. I highly recommend CPRET!" -Dr. Jessica Levenson 

"The experts that developed this training provided education on the many aspects of clinical research and included scenarios for discussion. The training is nicely formatted, giving time for discussion and reflection while presenting the many aspects of research in a concise manner. For those that may already have some understanding of research, this training further explores one’s understanding of the many aspects of conducting clinical research. Engaging in discussions through scenarios helped us to understand the questions and gaps in knowledge that our community experts had so that we could address them. It also helped us to understand the knowledge and experience that our community experts already had regarding research. Our community experts expressed that they learned about the history of research and how regulations were developed. Some noted that they learned about the IRB. In addition, they were impressed by the research rigor that goes on “behind the scenes” to make sure that participants are safe. Often times when we work in research daily, we need to be reminded that the general community may not know all of the regulations, rigor, and oversight that occur with each study. Having tools like CPRET helps researchers to educate and engage with the community. It saves researchers time and effort by using a training that is already developed and ready to share with the community! We trust the experts that developed this training and appreciate the time invested to make sure the language and way it is presented is applicable for community members." -Carrie Fascetti

"I used the CPRET training in a multi-site study assessing the impact of an intervention designed to improve medication adherence for people living with HIV. Because the study was implemented by staff members of community-based sites, it was important to ensure they understood ethical conduct of human subjects research. However, we also found that the CPRET was a great tool for broader discussion about the study. It helped to generate feedback from our community partners about how to describe the study and streamline enrollment processes. I was initially interested in CPRET because it breaks down ethics in research in an easy-to-understand way, but quickly realized it was a useful way to deepen our collaboration with our community partners." -Dr. Mary Hawk