A Tale of Two Community Networks Program Centers: Operationalizing and Assessing CBPR Principles and Evaluating Partnership Outcomes

Cassandra Arroyo-Johnson, Michele L Allen, Graham A Colditz, G Ali Hurtado, Cynthia S Davey, Vetta L Sanders Thompson, Bettina F Drake, Maria Veronica Svetaz, Maira Rosas-Lee, Melody S Goodman
Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action 2015, 9 Suppl: 61-9

BACKGROUND: Community Networks Program (CNP) centers are required to use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach within their specific priority communities. Not all communities are the same and unique contextual factors and collaborators' priorities shape each CBPR partnership. There are also established CBPR and community engagement (CE) principles shown to lead to quality CBPR in any community. However, operationalizing and assessing CBPR principles and partnership outcomes to understand the conditions and processes in CBPR that lead to achieving program and project level goals is relatively new in the science of CBPR.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to describe the development of surveys on adherence to and implementation of CBPR/CE principles at two CNP centers and examine commonalities and differences in program-versus project-level CBPR evaluation.

METHODS: A case study about the development and application of CBPR/CE principles for the Missouri CNP, Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities, and Minnesota CNP, Padres Informados/Jovenes Preparados, surveys was conducted to compare project versus program operationalization of principles. Survey participant demographics were provided by CNP. Specific domains found in CBPR/CE principles were identified and organized under an existing framework to establish a common ground. Operational definitions and the number of survey items were provided for each domain by CNP.

CONCLUSION: There are distinct differences in operational definitions of CBPR/CE principles at the program and project levels of evaluation. However, commonalities support further research to develop standards for CBPR evaluation across partnerships and at the program and project levels.

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