Community-Based Participatory Research From the Margin to the Mainstream

Are Researchers Prepared?

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) has the potential to bring together academic experts and individuals from communities facing negative health outcomes. CBPR can yield more effective health interventions for conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

This report is a qualitative assessment of CBPR. The authors strongly endorse CBPR as an emerging strategy that might remedy health disparities rooted in race and socioeconomic status. They contrast CBPR with traditional research methods; explain the impetus for promoting CBPR; outline basic structural features; and discuss challenges to effective CBPR.

Key Findings:

  • CBPR is an approach to using established research methods that foster partnerships between health professionals and the communities they serve.
  • CBPR capitalizes on a shift in how academics view populations afflicted with negative health outcomes: as partners who can illuminate the causes of illness rather than mere patients and research subjects.

CBPR is not a scientific research method. It is a structure or approach for using established methods. CBPR treats health professionals and community members as mutual stakeholders in the process of developing initiatives that treat illness and disease. CBPR might have the capacity to overcome negative perceptions of researchers within disadvantaged communities.