My name is Laura Myerchin Sklaroff and I am a Project Manager, Researcher, and Evaluator with Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Clinical Resource Management (LAC DHS CRM). My focus is on health care quality improvement for low income and underrepresented populations; prior to LAC DHS CRM I coordinated the nationally recognized practice-based research network, LA Net, and I have worked on several federally and foundation funded national and regional studies. I also teach a graduate level Evaluation Procedures class at the Tseng College, California State University, Northridge.
I frequently use components of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), also known as Participatory Action Research (PAR), when conducting health care research and evaluations. CBPR is based on the idea that research should include the following principles (Isreal, 2000; full citation is in the Rad Resources section):
- Respects and Recognizes Community as a Unity of Identity
- Builds on Strengths and Resources in the Community
- Facilitates Collaborative, Equitable Involvement of All Partners in All Phases of Research
- Integrates Knowledge and Intervention for Mutual Benefit of All Members
- Information and Learning is Shared Equally by All Members
- Involves a Cyclical and Iterative Process
- Addresses Research Topics from Both Positive and Ecological Perspectives
- Disseminates Findings and Knowledge Gained to All Partners
- Involves a Long-Term Commitment by All Partners
While similar to several themes found in many evaluation theories, I’ve found that outlining the principles of CBPR for stakeholders at the start of the evaluation or research process greatly increases participant by-in. As I review the process to stakeholders, I make it a point to describe how my actions integrate and are consistant with the CBPR principles. When conducting health care evaluations, particularly with stakeholder groups that are historically distrustful of medical research, the CBPR principles offer an excellent standard for stakeholders to use when “evaluating the evaluator.”
For the evaluator, CBPR offers language that can be very helpful in drafting memorandums of understanding (MOUs), Research Collaboration Agreements, and Mission and Value Statements. Exploring CBPR literature is also a great way to understand the ins and outs that come with doing “bottom-up” research.
Rad Resources: Here are a few resources.
- Isreal, Barbara A. “Community-Based Participatory Research: Principles, Rationale and Policy Recommendations.” Successful Models of Community-Based Participatory Research, pp. 16-22, March 2000, Washington, DC.
- Developing and Sustaining Community-Based Participatory Research Partnerships: A Skill-Building Curriculum (http://www.cbprcurriculum.info/)
- The Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) page: http://depts.washington.edu/ccph/index.html
- The Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE) about CBPR page: http://www.aaspire.org/about/cbpr.html
And the CBPR listserv is great resource for discussion, sharing of ideas, and collaborative problem-solving! They also offer information about conferences, funding opportunities, job announcements, and new publications relevant to CBPR. You can join this listserv here: http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/cbpr