CBPR as community health intervention: institutionalizing CBPR within community based organizations

Marlynn May, Jon Law
Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action 2008, 2 (2): 145-55

BACKGROUND: A community-academy partnership was created with a commitment to developing a program for institutionalizing community-based participatory research (CBPR) capacity within community-based organizations (CBOs), with the intention to enhance CBOs' existing capabilities to understand and improve community health.

OBJECTIVES: This article presents the design and conceptual foundations for a year-long CBPR education and training program in which CBO teams learn research design, discuss the principles of CBPR, design and implement a community health-related research project tailored to their program and community, conduct analyses, and initiate integration of the results into the organization and community. One objective is to integrate a commitment to and the practice of CBPR within CBOs' program and policies.

METHODS: An initial partnership was created between the Center for Border Health, El Paso, and Texas A&M University School of Rural Public Health, College Station. Three additional CBOs then joined the partnership and participated in the CBPR education and training program consisting of four stages: (1)3 intensive months devoted to learning about and creating a research design; (2) 6 months for implementation of the design; (3) 2 months for analyses, interpretation, and consolidation of results into one or more final products; and (4) 1 month for development of protocols for integrating research results into community health development.

RESULTS: In the first iteration, an interactive process evaluation was conducted during each program stage, plus a final year-end exit interview with each participating CBO. Evaluation demonstrated strong positive results and specific lessons learned. A proposal incorporating the lessons learned was presented to the funding source. A second iteration has been funded, with monies included to develop a formal outcome evaluation.

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