Community based participatory research is more than simply asking community members to help researchers gather data. It is a true partnership between researchers and the people affected by the issue to be researched. It honors different ways of understanding and solving problems. Instead of asking the questions as an outside observer, which by definition means there will be gaps in understanding what needs to be studied, the researcher is guided by the community as much as the community is guided by the researcher. The end result is that the data collected is relevant and useful for the communities in their efforts to improve their own lives.
Commonweal is a partner in an ongoing effort to bring community wisdom and power into the breast cancer prevention research process. Since 2012 we have partnered with California Breast Cancer Research Program and Plumbline Consulting to offer intensive training in community based participatory research (CBPR) focused on the potential role of environmental exposures and health disparities in increasing breast cancer risk.
We train community members and scientists to build successful research partnerships that will carry them through the full CBPR process: building relationships and working agreements, identifying research needs, building a successful research plan and proposal, and then working together in the long run.
- Building capacity throughout California for community-scientific teams to successfully conduct CBPR.
- Democratize the research process to bring in the voices and perspective of community groups, especially marginalized populations, from the initial stages of the research process through dissemination and use of the research results.
- Strengthening research efforts that explore breast cancer prevention through the lens of environmental exposures and health disparities.
- Connect research to real-world solutions, whether it means improving the care women receive in the clinic or giving advocates that information they need to advocate on their own behalves.
This training program is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25CA188482. The content is solely the responsibility of the trainers and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.