Monday, July 9, 2007

Mon 1 - Research thru a CBPR lens

Morning all, still no luggage and a typically restless night in a fancy hotel (you know, I cannot remember having any restless nights in a tent, hmmm), but hey, we power on.

There are now 28 of us here, all expected to write an NIH CBPR proposal as a result of our training in this institute. There are almost as many faculty as participants, and they've tried to get at least one faculty tuned to each of our research interests.

Welcome by Hank Webber
VP for Community and Govt Affairs at U of Chicago

He's just welcoming us really, but let me try to capture one of his good lines, and let me also warn y'all, all quotes are subject to the wild vagaries of my memory...

"We all believe there is deep knowledge in communities about how to solve social problems. There is also deep knowledge in universities. CBPR is a search for mutuality, achieving both academic rigor and public benefit."

Research Through a CBPR Lens
Sarah Gehlert
Principal Investigator of U of Chicago's Ctr for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research, and their project leader on their CBPR efforts.

CBPR is a balance between sometimes oppositional forces: community reality, the faith that findings will translate into real world outcomes, and academic rigor, the faith that findings have high reliability and validity.

"Community ideas about research and sampling may conflict with what researchers consider good science."

A common way CBPR applications fail the reviews is either
  • community partnership are strong, but not written about systematically and scientifically
  • the project is strong scientifically, but fails on demonstrating true co-equal partnerships with the community (what's with blogger's random font changes)
Mini discussion -- what if we are researching communities where the people are to unstable to be co-equal partners, like injection drug users? Folk talked about using community groups as access, community leaders, ex members of target communities and how co-equal partnership is really a goal, not a yes/no, so you're trying to make someone as much a part of the partnership as they are able to be.

Insightful words of one community partner, "They say this is a partnership, they come to our homes and talk to us, but I'm never invited to their [the scientists] home."

Sarah Gehlert's Challenges of CBPR
  1. CBPR should be community-based, not just community-placed. The ideal is when the community originates a project and researchers are brought onboard to help with it.
  2. How to define community.
  3. Achieving co-equal partnerships
  4. Sharing findings and influencing policy and practice (could it harm the community, what and where for publishing, decide in advance how disagreements will be handled - one way someone did this was to establish community co-directors who are frontfolk to negotiate with then disagreements come up).
  5. Recognizing that CBPR principles alone don't dictate good design and methods
  6. Conducting ongoing evaluation
Morning break

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