Kent Key, PhD, MPH

Key 1200x801

Academic Outreach Specialist

Dr. Kent Key is an expert in building equitable relationships between community and academic partners for health research and elevating community-identified health priorities to the research enterprise. As a liaison bridging both academia and community together to create equitable collaborative relationships in research, Dr. Key has worked on national, regional, and local levels. Throughout his career, Dr. Key has served in an intermediary role helping to translate the resources of government, research partnerships, and foundations into practical support for communities engaged in research. 

Dr. Key is currently the Director of the Office of Community Scholars and Partnerships, where he directs a community scholars program, the Community Action Council, Cross Campus/Institution Partnerships, and Community-Research Matching for research.  Dr. Key is also the founder of the Community Ethics Review Board (CERB) a component of the Community Organization Partners (CBOP) where community members conduct ethical reviews of proposed research projects to ensure that no harm is done on a community level and to assess mutual benefit. In 2016, Dr. Key began serving as the Academic Principal Investigator of the Community Consortium Core of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, a U54 NIH funded grant.  Dr. Key has served as Deputy Director for Flint Odyssey House Inc., Health Awareness Center conducting Health Disparity Research initiatives since 1999. Dr. Key is the Deputy Director of the Community Based Organization Partners, an umbrella organization of non-profits, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood associations in Flint, Genesee, County.

Immediately after the Flint Water Crisis, Dr. Key and a collaborative partnership of Community, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and Flint founded the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center (HFRCC) where he serves as a Core Director. The HFRCC main objective is to coordinate the research being conducted in Flint post the Water Crisis to eliminate duplication and reduce the burden on the community.

Selected Publications:
Key, K.D. (2017). Expanding Ethics Review Processes to Include Community-Level Protections: A Case Study from Flint, Michigan. American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 19(10), 989-998.

Greene-Moton, E., Key, K.D., De Loney, E.H., & Piechowski-Whitney, P. (2017). Research Ethics in the Time of Crisis. Presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Key, K.D., Greene-Moton, E., De Loney, E.H., Bailey, S., Lewis, E.Y., & Sparks, A. (2016). Shifting the power dynamic in Ethical Protections; Community Ethical Review Boards. Presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Denver, Co.

Key, K.D.,Paulson, L., Paberzs, A., Airgood, M., Lota, K., Piechowski, P., Calhoun, K., Tuomi, A., Buckhoy, N. & Vereen, D. (2015). Historical Purpose, Power, and Politics Behind the Concept “Community Engagement.” Presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Key, K.D. (2015). Identifying the Motivators to engage African American students into careers in public health: Recruiting the Next Generation of Community Based Public Health Researchers. Presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Selected Media Coverage:
The Takeaway: The emotional toll of the Flint Water Crisis

The Michigan Daily: Panelists discuss rebuilding relationship between state officials, residents in Flint

To request a comprehensive CV summarizing Dr. Key's achievements email him at


Scholarly Interests

  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Research
  • African American Men’s Health
  • Youth Development and Career Exploration
  • Health Equity


  •  profile
  •  @DrKentDKey
  • Email:
  • 810-600-5663
  • Address:
    Division of Public Health,
    College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
    200 East 1st Street, Flint, MI 48502

Research Projects

Clinical Research Associate for the University of Michigan Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) at the Michigan Institute for Clinical Health Research (MICHR) located in the Medical School.

Appointments and Honors

  • Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Culture of Health Leaders
  • National Administrator of the Public Health Association’s (APHA) Community Based Public Health Caucus (CBPHC)


PhD, Public Health: Community Health Education and Promotion
Walden University, Minneapolis, MN

MPH, Public Health: Community Health Education and Promotion
Walden University, Minneapolis, MN

BBA, Business Administration and Management
University of Michigan, Flint, MI