There are many complex factors contributing to the prevailing health disparities and health issues in Appalachia and there is a growing recognition that traditional research methods have not been successful in eliminating the disparities. Therefore, a community-engaged research approach allows researchers and community members to work together to assess local health issues as well as design, implement and evaluate culturally appropriate interventions designed to increase quality of life and well-being.
Community-engaged research exists on a continuum, which allows for great variety among community-academic partnerships. However, one theme that is common among community-engaged research is that the community is involved in the research process in a meaningful way.
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is one type of community-engaged research in which the researchers and the community partners have an equitable relationship during the research process. A commonly used definition of CBPR is from the WK Kellogg Foundation Community Health Scholars Program:
CBPR is a “collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community, has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities.”
ARHI researchers and affiliated faculty are committed to conducting community-engaged research. If you would like to learn more about community-engaged research, contact the ARHI directors, attend the ARHI CBPR learning communities, or visit our Resources page.