Getting started in CBPR: lessons in building community partnerships for new researchers

Nurs Inq. 2010 Dec;17(4):282-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2010.00510.x.


There is a growing interest in community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods to address issues of health disparities. Although the success of CBPR is dependent upon the formation of community-researcher partnerships, new researchers as well as seasoned investigators who are transitioning to CBPR often lack the skills needed to develop and maintain these partnerships. The purpose of the article is to discuss the competencies needed by new researchers to form successful CBPR partnerships. The author presents a series of strategic steps that are useful in establishing academic-community partnerships and in initiating, maintaining and sustaining CBPR projects. These steps include suggestions regarding community engagement, selection of community advisory board members, outreach, the community's role in problem identification, selection of research methodologies, considerations related to the community setting, need for flexibility and patience, 'insider vs. outsider' conflicts, commitment and training issues, timing concerns for tenure-track faculty and the process of community empowerment. Community-based participatory research is both rewarding and time consuming, for both the researcher and members of the community. Given its promise to address health disparities, it is imperative that researchers acquire the skills needed to develop and cultivate durable community-researcher partnerships.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / methods*
  • Community Health Services / trends
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / trends
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • New Jersey
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Research Design
  • Time
  • Urban Population*