The PZRC is bridging the gap between researchers and residents

About Us

Our History

The Promise Zone Research Connection (PZRC) is a community-based initiative founded in 2015 to promote research standards that recognize and support the broader interests of the West Philadelphia Promise Zone community and to improve the quality of research by advancing best practices in community engaged research. PZRC members include Promise Zone residents, community stakeholders, and researchers, who come together with a shared commitment to increase dialogue, transparency and equity in the research projects conducted in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.

Our Mission

Ensure research positively impacts residents of the West Philadelphia Promise Zone by advocating for research that protects, respects, and benefits residents and by educating residents on their rights against research abuse


Our Board

Dennis Burroughs (Chair): Dennis was born and raised in the Black Bottom section of Philadelphia. Active with the Promise Zone since 2016, he has engaged in community work both in West Philadelphia and in the North. He is also a member of the Penn Advisory Board and the Baring Street Community. His greatest education is understanding the people whom he serves.

Rita Nelson (Secretary): Rita has been a West Powelton resident for over fifty years and is a member of Saunders Park/ West Powelton CDC. She became interested in community engaged research after attending PZRC meetings in 2018 and after working as a Promise Neighborhood Surveyor, where she really learned a lot about the community.

Bettye Ferguson (Treasurer): Bettye has resided in the Belmont District in West Philly for fifty-four years. Bettye is the President and CEO of Belmont Alliance Civic Association, CDC, and is heavily involved in her community. She has served on the West Philadelphia Promise Zone Research Connection since 2014 when the concept was first introduced and strategies began to mold and shape the PZRC program.

Jimmy Allen: Jimmy is the former executive director of the Mantua Community Planners, and former President of the Philadelphia Crime Prevention Association. He attended Temple University, where he earned a B.S. in Education, and where he was President of Veterans in Public Service. Currently, he is the outreach director of Management and Environmental Technologies Inc, and outreach coordinator for Mantua Civic Association and Promise Neighborhood Youth Committee. His greatest ambition is to improve the quality of life in his community, and to bridge the gap between communities, universities, hospitals, and companies.

Amy Carroll-Scott: Dr. Carroll-Scott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention at the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing urban health inequities and underlying social inequities. This research consists of social epidemiological and mixed methods studies applied to the lived experience of urban neighborhoods and schools, and driven by community-based participatory research approaches.

Jasper Jones: Dr. Jasper Jones Bey, M.S.S., is: Executive Director, UBCA Community Trust for Family Life Improvement, Inc; President, Data Spectrum, Inc; Community Rebirth Organization Plan (CROP™) National Program & Computer Distance Learning Director; Chief Administrator, Campus of Distance Learners (OCS) Omni-community Charter School – The UBCA – Community Trust® (for family life improvement) Inc; River-City-toHydrogen (RCtH™) Dream-Team™ Promotion Organization; Data Spectrum Senior Consultant Engineer and RCtH™ Project Configuration Management Engineer; and Ambassador of the Shaykamaxum Republic Government and Minister of Energy/Education/Community Affairs.

Juanda Myles: Born and raised in Philadelphia, Juanda is a Citizen Planner who emphasizes sustainability, historical preservation and affordable housing. She is a community activist for good causes, an advocate for urban agriculture, and a professional volunteer. She has been with PZRC since its inception in 2014.

Sharon Nichols: Sharon is a resident of the community. She started attending Promise Zone Research Connection meetings in 2018 in the interest of community-based participatory research, in order to engage investigators to help ensure safe practices, integrity, and health of the community by following the guidelines for Human Subjects Research.

Hyden Terrell: Hyden is a community resident living in Belmont. She has worked for the Promise Neighborhood for five years and now works as a Data Lead for the organization. She also currently works for the Promise Zone as an Assistant Community Researcher and for the West Philly Community Power Academy as an Academy Associate. She has interviewed 16 Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in Philadelphia about their protocols and standards for conducting studies in the West Philadelphia area. She is a skilled interviewer with a strong commitment to her neighborhood and the causes she stands for. She is an active member of several civic organizations, including the West Belmont Civic Association, the 16th District Police Department Advisory Council, and the Neighborhood Advisory Council as a block captain. She participates in the captain’s meeting and local community events.


Q. What is the difference between the PZRC and the CRRB?

A. The Promise Zone Research Connection (PZRC) is an organization that works broadly to make sure that research that involves Promise Zone residents benefits Promise Zone residents. This can include dialogue with local researchers, educating residents on their rights as research subjects, organizing public forums to share research findings, and more. The Community Research Review Board (CRRB) is a committee of the PZRC. It focuses specifically on reviewing research proposals submitted by area researchers and offering input on these research proposals in order to ensure that the community’s interests are considered in the design of the research process.


Q. This sounds great! How can I help?

A. There are a number of ways that you can help advance the PZRC’s mission. If you are a community resident or stakeholder, you can consider applying to join the PZRC or the CRRB when these applications open each winter. You can also tell your family, friends, and neighbors about our work. The more people know about the PZRC, the better we can help make sure that research benefits local residents. Follow us on Twitter @westphl_pzrc to stay up to date on our progress, activities, and events.

If you are a researcher, you can also consider applying to join the PZRC or the CRRB. You can also let your colleagues know about our work. We are especially interested in working with Institutional Review Boards throughout Philadelphia, and researchers at local colleges and universities. Additionally, we would welcome opportunities to connect with researchers outside of Philadelphia with an interest in community engaged research or who are conducting research in or about West Philadelphia .