Community-based participatory research (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.”

– WK Kellogg Foundation Community Health Scholars Program

In many research processes, researchers develop ideas about what the problems are that need to be solved, develop interventions to solve them, and offer them to the community without asking the community what they need or want.    CBPR is different from other research approaches in that the community is a full partner in the research process. 

In the ALIVE! project, this means that the pastors, congregations, and researchers all have an equal voice in the development of the program, the data we collect, and how we analyze what we collect.  As described on our ALIVE! History page, Reverend Raglan came to the researchers, having identified a need for better health among pastors and in their congregations.  This is ideal CBPR, as the identified needs came directly from the community.  The Rush researchers then worked with Rev. Raglan and the pastors he chose to partner with, along with members of the congregations to learn more about the health needs in this community, doing a Needs AssessmentField Workers from the churches and Rush staff interviewed church members to better understand their ideas about health, food, activity, church traditions, family traditions, and what the community needs for better health.  The ALIVE! Advisory board then developed a questionnaire about health and administered the questionnaire in all five churches.  All of this data contributed to the development of a draft intervention by team members, with input from Rush staff, pastors, and the advisory board.  The advisory board has pilot tested measures that we will be using for data collection to determine whether the intervention is effective.

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