Celebrating Over a Decade of Community Partnerships for Engaged Research and Health Equity
A Diverse Community of Practice
Our CBPR model and tools were created by multiple partners who share a collective vision for multi-year community engaged (CenR) and community based participatory research (CBPR) in advancing health equity. It takes a village to grow the science and our village is comprised of diverse partners from academia to community leaders and a Think tank.
Sustained Investment in a Growing Community Science: The CBPR Model
From 2006-2009, the Native American Centers for Health (NARCH) and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) invested for the development of a community based participatory research (CBPR) Conceptual Model. Led by the Universities of New Mexico and Washington and guided by a national Think Tank this work was informed by the research literature, a web-based survey of community-academic research partners, and the experience of community and academic CBPR experts. The evolving model has four major domains that guide the science of engaged research: Context, Partnership Processes, Intervention/Research Design, and Outcomes. Advancing the application of CBPR and community engagement, the model has been validated in the United States across diverse community-academic partnerships and translated into Spanish and Portuguese.
From 2009-2013, Research for Improved Health (RIH) was funded as a four-year NARCH research project to test the CBPR conceptual model and to develop initial measures and metrics of engagement practices and outcomes. RIH was a partnership between the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center, the University of New Mexico Center for Participatory Research and the University of Washington Indigenous Wellness Research Institute funded by NIH Institutes: NIMHD, NCRR, OBSSR, NIDA, NCI and HRSA.
Testing the CBPR Model with Diverse Communities
Mixing both qualitative and quantitative research methods, the RIH conducted internet surveys and seven case studies to test measures and metrics and to identify promising engagement and partnering practices that are associated with or contribute to research, partnership capacity, and health outcomes. The qualitative team began with the development of interview and focus group guides, a brief partnership questionnaire, and methods for creating a partnership such as constructing a community “River of Life,” also known as a historical timeline, for the shared work that recognizes the assets and contributions of all the partners and the successes and challenges of the work. The quantitative team selected existing survey measures and created new scales for constructs in the CBPR Model of partnering practices and outcomes. Two internet surveys were administered: 1) the key informant survey (KIS) for Principal Investigators, and 2) the community engagement survey (CES) for community and academic partners. All scales and items were selected or designed to map onto and measure the CBPR model constructs within the four domains (or ovals) in the model. All qualitative and quantitative instruments can be found on: http://cpr.unm.edu/research-projects/cbpr-project/RIH.html. Using respondent results from the web-based survey, all selected scales underwent confirmatory factor analysis to obtain psychometric properties of reliability and validity.
Promising Practices for Successful CBPR Partnerships
Results from the RIH web-based survey of 294 partnerships (N=450) and interviews and focus groups from seven in-depth case study site visits (N =86) have identified promising practices for CBPR partnerships. (see publications on mixed methods, psychometrics, governance, trust, outcomes, and multiple case studies): http://cpr.unm.edu/research-projects/cbpr-project/additional-publications.html).
An analysis comparing the significance of many factors shows a linkage between promising partnering practices and a range of CBPR outcomes. Key themes from the narratives coming out of the community cases have provided examples of effective practices and emerging practices that illustrate how and why community participation can contribute to positive outcomes. Only those practices found to be associated with successful partnership outcomes are highlighted in the Promising Practices Guide. The Guide illustrates the ingredients of successful partnership and also includes questions for other partnerships to use in planning their future work.
A Call to Action: Engaging for Equity
“Engage for Equity (E2): Advancing Community Engaged Partnerships” seeks to extend the science of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) by developing measures and tools to strengthen partnering and engagement processes.
We built on previous pilot funding (NIMHD, 2006-2009) that developed the CBPR Conceptual Model; and NIH/NARCH “Research for Improved Health” (RIH) funding (2009-2013) that tested & psychometrically-validated measures of engagement and outcomes from 200 federally-funded research partnerships from the 2009 RePORTER data base (http://cpr.unm.edu/research-projects/cbpr-project/index.html). Seven in-depth case studies enriched our exploration of partnering practices and outcomes.
Engage for Equity is a partnership of the University of New Mexico Center for Participatory Research, the University of Washington, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, University of Waikato NZ, Rand Corporation, and a Think Tank of Community and Academic CBPR Practitioners. Funded by National Institute of Nursing Research (2015-2020; 1R01NR015241-01A1).
Building on our partnership history, sustaining investments and learning from previous research and lessons learned, together we are committed to using state of the art tools, finding out what works and what kind of partnering practices and collaborations produce successful outcomes.