A Model for Community-Engaged Research
RHCP has a strong track record of engaging research participants from minority populations who remain underrepresented in clinical trials, programs and initiatives aimed at improving health among these populations.
A comprehensive evaluation conducted by the University of New Mexico in 2016 demonstrated that RHCP’s success is largely due to continuous and active community leadership and effective leveraging of resources. Founding community and academic partners have cultivated a collaborative leadership style that has been productive and promotes leadership capacity among community partners. RHCP participatory processes directly inform health outcomes.
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a collaborative way of doing research that engages community members, uses local knowledge in the understanding of health problems and the design of interventions, and equitably involves researchers and community partners in all aspects of research.
RHCP CBPR Conceptual Model
Domains of CBPR Model
- Partnership activities are directed at building trust and capacity, and improving health outcomes.
- Partnership successes are attributed to continuous, active community leadership and effective leveraging of resources.
Research & intervention
- Community partners drive the research agenda.
- Training in research methods for community partners is important.
- Broad dissemination of study results is done jointly by community and academic partners
- There are high levels of trust within RHCP.
- Collaborative leadership is an integral aspect in RHCP.
- Cross-cultural consensus and respect among various groups is important.
- Decisions are made by consensus, which is effective but challenging and sometimes inefficient.
- Partners work through conflict.
- There is a desire to expand RHCP – to more partners and projects.
- Need to develop infrastructure.
Evaluation of RHCP
A Community-Based Participatory Research Partnership to Address Health Disparities
Since its inception, RHCP has become productive and experienced at deploying data-driven assessments and interventions across multiple health issues, and has grown to include multiple institutional partners. RHCP’s research efforts have resulted in securing nationally competitive funding, as well as numerous institutional and foundation awards. However, despite its successful track-record, RHCP had not undergone a formal evaluation until 2015.
Together with the researchers from the University of New Mexico Center for Participatory Research, RHCP academic and community partners conducted a comprehensive, in-depth evaluation of the
partnership, utilizing qualitative and quantitative research methods. The aim of this partnership evaluation was to assess processes and procedures that contribute to enhancing and sustaining institutional partnerships, fostering and supporting cross-disciplinary collaborations, implementing research protocols in community-based settings, and identifying opportunities.
The evaluation consisted of group analysis and adaptation of an existing CBPR model; development of a comprehensive timeline; and, adaptation of existing measures to elicit information pertinent to the nature of RHCP, including surveys and individual interviews aimed at assessing all aspects of the partnership.
The participatory components of the evaluation were essential to setting the agenda and defining its utility, leading to a level of authenticity that would not have been possible by a traditional program evaluation
Key evaluation findings:
- Participatory processes informed outcomes.
- These processes are RHCP’s most important product.
Principles of CBPR adopted by RHCP
- CBPR recognizes the community as a unit of identity. A community may be defined by a geographic area, but it could also be a shared ethnic/racial/group or other identityCBPR builds on the strengths and resources within the community.
- CBPR uses collaborative, equitable partnership principles in all aspects of the research. Academic and community partners work together to define the problem, collect information, find solutions, implement programs, and interpret and disseminate results.
- CBPR involves learning together and capacity building among all partners.
- CBPR involves a balance between research and action for the benefit of all partners.
- CBPR focuses on public health concerns of local relevance and addresses social determinants of health.
- CBPR involves a long-term process and commitment to sustainability.
- CBPR is a process-oriented and iterative approach.