Background: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg region has one of the fastest growing Hispanic communities in the country. This population has experienced disparities in health outcomes and diminished ability to access healthcare services. This city is home to an established practice-based research network (PBRN) that includes community representatives, health services researchers, and primary care providers. The aims of this project are: to use key principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR) within a practice-based research network (PBRN) to identify a single disease or condition that negatively affects the Charlotte Hispanic community; to develop a community-based intervention that positively impacts the chosen condition and improves overall community health; and to disseminate findings to all stakeholders.
Methods/design: This project is designed as CBPR. The CBPR process creates new social networks and connections between participants that can potentially alter patterns of healthcare utilization and other health-related behaviors. The first step is the development of equitable partnerships between community representatives, providers, and researchers. This process is central to the CBPR process and will occur at three levels -- community members trained as researchers and outreach workers, a community advisory board (CAB), and a community forum. Qualitative data on health issues facing the community -- and possible solutions -- will be collected at all three levels through focus groups, key informant interviews and surveys. The CAB will meet monthly to guide the project and oversee data collection, data analysis, participant recruitment, implementation of the community forum, and intervention deployment. The selection of the health condition and framework for the intervention will occur at the level of a community-wide forum. Outcomes of the study will be measured using indicators developed by the participants as well as geospatial modeling.On completion, this study will: determine the feasibility of the CBPR process to design interventions; demonstrate the feasibility of geographic models to monitor CBPR-derived interventions; and further establish mechanisms for implementation of the CBPR framework within a PBRN.