Ties That Bind: Creating and sustaining community-academic partnerships

Kynna N. Wright, Pluscinda Williams, Shekinah Wright, Eli Lieber, Steven R. Carrasco, Haik Gedjeyan


Abstract

Growing interest among academics and health professionals in finding new ways to study and address complex health and social problems has manifested in recent years with increasing community demands for research and program implementation that is community-based, rather than merely community placed. In the United States, community-based participatory research (CBPR), with its emphasis on the creation and use of community-university or community-academic partnerships, is the prevailing paradigm to address these complex problems, especially those concerning racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. While the need to strengthen the relationship between researchers and the community has been recognised, often from the viewpoint of the university partner, discussions on sustainability of partnerships have been few. The aim of this paper is to share reflections, through the eyes of the community members, on the core elements that tie community and academic members together and the challenges in understanding and nurturing those ties so that the community-academic partnership is sustained over time, and to offer possible recommendations for sustainability. This article speaks from the community’s perspective and reflects on the vital elements/components that tie together community-university partnerships and the challenges that may occur when trying to sustain and grow the partnership. It is based on a research CBPR study that was conducted to (1) evaluate the functioning and future sustainability of the community-university partnership of the Community Child Health Network Study Los Angeles (CCHN-LA) community-university partnership, and (2) evaluate the experience and beliefs of the current CCHN-LA community-university partnership members in their understanding of current functioning.

Keywords
Community-academic partnerships; sustainability; challenges; solutions

Full Text

PDF

References

Bluenthal, R, Jones, L, Fackler-Lowrie, N, Ellison, M, Booker, T, Jones F, McDaniel, S, Moini, M, Williams, K, Klap, R, Koegal, P & Wells, K 2006, 'Witness for wellness: Preliminary health findings from a community-academic participatory research mental initiative', Ethnicity & Disease, vol 16, suppl., pp. 18–34s.

Chen, D, Jones, L & Gelberg, L 2006, 'Ethics of clinical research within a community-academic partnered participatory framework, Ethnicity & Disease, vol. 16, suppl., pp. 18–35s.

Gebbie, K, Rosenstock, L & Hernandez, L 2003, Who will keep the public healthy? Educating public health professionals for the 21st century, Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Grace, C 1992, Cultural competence for evaluators: A guide for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention practitioners working with ethnic/racial communities. OSAP, Rockville, MD.

Interviewees 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12 & 20 2009, Discussion on barriers and facilitators to effective community-university partnerships. (Personal communication, 18 August 2009).

Israel, B, Krieger, J, Vlahov, D, Ciske, S, Foley, M, Fortin, P, Guzman, J, Lichtenstein, R, McGranaghan, R, Palermo, A & Tang, G 2006, 'Challenges & facilitating factors in sustaining CBPR partnerships: Lessons learned from the Detroit, New York City & Seattle Urban Research Centers, Journal of Urban Health, vol. 83, no. 6, pp. 1022–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11524-006-9110-1

Israel, B, Parker, E, Salvatore, A, Minkler, M, Lopez, J, Butz, A, Mosley, A, Coates, L, Lambart, G, Potito, P, Brenner, B, Rivera, M, Romero, H, Beti, T, Coronado, G & Halstead, S 2005, 'Community-based participatory research lessons learned from the Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research', Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 113, no. 10, pp. 1463–71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.7675

Israel, B, Schulz, A, Parker, E, Becker, A, Allen, A & Guzman, J 2003, 'Critical issues in developing and following community-based participatory research principles, in M Minkler & N Wallerstein (eds), Community-based participatory research for health, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 56–73.

Israel, B, Schultz, A, Parker, E, Becker, A, Allen, A & Guzman, J 2008, 'Critical issues in developing and following community-based participatory research principles', in M Minkler & N Wallerstein (eds), Community-based participatory research for health, 2nd edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 47–62.

Jones, L & Wells, K 2007, 'Strategies for academic and clinician engagement in community-participatory partnered research', JAMA, vol. 297, no. 4, pp. 407–10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.297.4.407

Jones, L, Lu, M, Lucas-Wright, A, Dillon-Brown, N, Broussard, M, Wright K, Maidenberg, M, Norris, K, Ferré, C 2010a, 'One hundred intentional acts of kindness toward a pregnant woman: Building reproductive social capital in Los Angeles', Ethnicity & Disease, vol. 20, suppl., pp. 36–40s.

Jones, L, Wright, K, Wright A, Dillon-Brown, N, Broussard, M, Hogan, V 2010b, 'The healthy African American families risk communications initiative: Using community partnered participatory research to address preterm birth at the local level', Ethnicity & Disease, vol. 20, suppl., pp. 31–35s.

Lasker, R, Weiss, E 2003, 'Broadening participation in community problem solving: A multidisciplinary model to support collaborative practice and research', Journal of Urban Health, vol. 80, pp. 14–60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jurban/jtg014

Macaulay, A 2007, 'Promoting participatory research by family physicians', Annals of Family Medicine, vol. 5, pp. 557–60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1370/afm.755

Minkler, M & Wallerstein, N 2008, Community-based participatory research for health, 2nd edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 1–23.

Seifer, S 2006, 'Building and sustaining community-institutional partnerships for prevention research: Findings from a national collaborative', Journal of Urban Health, vol. 83, no. 6, pp. 989–1003. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11524-006-9113-y

Steuart, G 1993, 'Social and cultural perspectives: Community intervention and mental health', Health Education Quarterly, vol. 20, suppl., pp. 99–111s.

Wright, K, Jones, L & Hogan, V 2010, 'A roadmap for authentic community/academic engagement for developing effective community preterm birth education', Ethnicity & Disease, vol. 20, suppl., pp. 77–82s.