Background: Interest in community-based participatory research (CBPR) has surged during the last several years because of its potential to enhance the quality and usefulness of research outcomes. Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) potentially can provide a bridge between the research endeavor and communities; PBRNs have been identified as a promising venue for CBPR. However, this marriage of CBPR and PBRNs faces many challenges, such as locus of project idea generation, time constraints, and funding limitations.
Methods: This was a case study of the application of the CBPR model and CBPR principles specific to PBRN research using a recent PBRN study of communication about traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines.
Results: Challenges (eg, added cost, time) and benefits (eg, improved research data collection process, enhanced data analysis) resulted from application of the CBPR model and are detailed.
Conclusions: For practical and ethical reasons, PBRNs need to adopt the CBPR approach for certain types, if not all, of their research. This might require operational adaptations by the PBRN (eg, a community advisory board, community membership in the network board of directors, and outreach to community groups for input into network priorities) as well as dedicated time and funding.