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Research Method Engages Community to Find Answers

For the past 15 years, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has supported community-based participatory research as an approach to improving health status and eliminating health disparities. The methodology serves to uncover the complex determinants of community health and illness built on the Foundation’s values: Race matters, quality health is multi-dimensional and health is a right.

Community-based participatory research is a method of scientific inquiry in which community members or persons affected by the condition or issue under study are full participants in each stage of the work— from conception and design of a plan of action, implementation and analysis to interpretation of the conclusion and communications regarding the results — and they work to make policy changes.

This approach requires that community voices are prevalent in asking the critical questions, documenting and interpreting the findings, and creating the systemic change in local, state, and national policies that will respond to the findings.

The Kellogg Foundation has funded a new journal dedicated to the work of community health partnerships and to the principles of community-based participatory research. As the only peer-reviewed journal of its kind, the first issue of Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action was released in December 2006. This journal provides a forum for community-based participatory research, and promotes further collaboration as a means of eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and improving health outcomes.

More information on community-based participatory research be found at the following sites: Community Campus Partnerships for Health, Community Health Scholars, or the Kellogg Health Scholars Program.

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