Studying and addressing urban immigrant restaurant worker health and safety in San Francisco's Chinatown district: a CBPR case study

J Urban Health. 2013 Dec;90(6):1026-40. doi: 10.1007/s11524-013-9804-0.


With its emphasis on empowerment, individual and community capacity building, and translating research findings into action, community-based participatory research (CBPR) may be particularly advantageous in work with urban immigrant populations. This paper highlights eight ways in which CBPR has been shown to add value to work with urban underserved communities. It then describes the background, context, and methods of an ecological CBPR project, the Chinatown Restaurant Worker Health and Safety Study, conducted in San Francisco, California, and draws on study processes and outcomes to illustrate each of the eight areas identified. Challenges of using CBPR, particularly with urban immigrant populations, briefly are described, drawing again on the Chinatown study to provide illustrative examples. We discuss lessons learned, through this and other studies, for the effective use of CBPR with urban immigrant populations. We conclude that despite its challenges, this transdisciplinary, community-partnered and action-oriented approach to inquiry can make substantial contributions to both the processes and the outcomes of the research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Communication Barriers
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / organization & administration*
  • Cultural Competency
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Occupational Health
  • Restaurants*
  • San Francisco
  • Trust
  • Urban Health
  • Urban Population*