Training in the protection of research participants
To build community capacity for research and foster a deeper understanding of the research process by community members, RHCP conducts thorough and continual training in the protection of human research participants with community members, advisors and volunteers. Each training session is facilitated by a seasoned researcher, who discusses the fundamental ethical principles of research, as it applies to research with human participants. In addition to addressing specific topics related to human subjects protection, training involves case studies and examples which provide a context for these policies and how they relate to working with research subjects, communities, and disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.
For these training sessions, RHCP utilizes the Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP) course of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Extramural Research (https://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php) or Mayo Clinic’s Human Subject Protection Training. Alternatively, RHCP encourages its members to register for the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program (https://www.citiprogram.org/).
Service Learning for Health Symposium, May 17, 2007
Service-learning is a structured learning experience that integrates community service and classroom instruction to enhance learning by health professionals and students. Service-learning models engage students by providing opportunities to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to community-identified issues such as obesity, health disparities, family abuse, chemical dependency, and health education. It is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
In 2007, academic and community partners of RHCP organized a service learning symposium to provide the opportunity for individuals representing community organizations, students, and educators to interact and explore the benefits of implementing service-learning into curricula. The symposium also aimed to promote collaboration and partnership between community organizations and schools with health profession curricula.
Focus Groups Moderation Workshops, 2008 – 2014
A barrier to the CBPR approach is that community research capacity is often quite limited, thereby prohibiting community members from full involvement in the research process. Acquisition of research skills enables community participants to apply their new skills and knowledge to other projects. Ultimately, capacity building through CBPR is a means of empowering the community; when applied to health issues, it provides the community with the skills and expertise to address and manage such concerns in a sustainable manner. One research skill that may build community research capacity is focus group moderation.
Focus groups is a qualitative research method that allows in-depth study of complex topics not amenable to quantitative methods. Led by a skilled moderator, focus groups involve a joint discussion among a small group of individuals in a relaxed environment, for the purpose of listening and gathering information.
In June 2008, 28 individuals representing community (African American, Cambodian, Hispanic, Somali, Sudanese, and White) and academic partners participated in focus group training. The first phase of the focus group training involved a 20-hour interactive workshop on focus group moderation taught by a national focus group expert, Dr. Richard Krueger, Senior Fellow and Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. The workshop introduced the methodology behind focus groups, the role of focus groups in research, the strengths and weaknesses of focus groups as a research method, guidelines to conducting focus groups successfully, and the various roles involved in holding focus groups. Logistics of the focus group environment were also discussed: ideal group size, creating a welcoming environment, working with low English literacy individuals, and cultural appropriateness. While training encompassed the roles of focus group moderator, note taker and analyst, emphasis was placed on improving participants’ abilities in moderation. Specifically, they were taught skills of active listening, body language, probes and the art of follow-up questions. The workshop was highly interactive, and included several role-playing sessions where participants practiced their skills. Those leading the workshop evaluated the trainees and provided constructive critiques. Focus group moderators then held practice focus groups within their neighborhoods, work environments, or friend groups. An advanced workshop to identify and work on areas that needed attention, and provide training on preparing focus group transcripts was held six months later; this was attended by 19 individuals. Another opportunity for training in focus group moderation was held in June 2010; 14 participants participated.
RHCP hosted a Focus Group Moderation workshop in May, 2014, facilitated by Drs. Richard Krueger and Mary Anne Casey. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a “refresher” for individuals who attended previous workshops, as well as provide training for newer RHCP members.
Partners in Research workshop, June 3-4, 2010
CBPR is a collaborative research approach designed to ensure and establish structures for participation by communities affected by the issue being studied, representatives of organizations, and researchers in all aspects of the research process to improve health and well-being through taking action, including social change. This approach to research is meant to increase the value of studies for both researchers and the communities participating in a study, and is well suited for addressing the persistent problems of health care disparities priority in populations in the United States, including racial and ethnic minorities; low-income, rural, and inner-city populations; women; and children.
Reference: Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/primary/cbprbrief/index.html)
In 2010, RHCP organized a workshop to engage communities and researchers to work together to improve the health of the community through CBPR. Specific goals of the workshop were to improve understanding among communities and researchers of the CBPR approach, and of the value, challenges and benefits of CBPR; and to increase understanding among communities and researchers about ways of creating CBPR partnerships. Over 100 participants attended this 1.5-day workshop.