Engagement practices that join scientific methods with community wisdom: designing a patient-centered, randomized control trial with a Pacific Islander community

Nurs Inq. 2017 Apr;24(2):10.1111/nin.12141. doi: 10.1111/nin.12141. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


This article illustrates how a collaborative research process can successfully engage an underserved minority community to address health disparities. Pacific Islanders, including the Marshallese, are one of the fastest growing US populations. They face significant health disparities, including extremely high rates of type 2 diabetes. This article describes the engagement process of designing patient-centered outcomes research with Marshallese stakeholders, highlighting the specific influences of their input on a randomized control trial to address diabetes. Over 18 months, an interdisciplinary research team used community-based participatory principles to conduct patient-engaged outcomes research that involved 31 stakeholders in all aspects of research design, from defining the research question to making decisions about budgets and staffing. This required academic researcher flexibility, but yielded a design linking scientific methodology with community wisdom.

Keywords: Marshallese; Pacific Islanders; community-based participatory research; diabetes; health disparities; patient-centered outcomes research.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / organization & administration
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Research Design*