A Physician Team's Experiences in Community-Based Participatory Research

Insights into Effective Group Collaborations


      Postdoctoral fellows from the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program are among a growing number of physician–researchers training in community-based participatory research (CBPR). These fellows are uniquely positioned to observe and evaluate CBPR training needs and the experience of collaboratively conducting a CBPR project.


      To describe, from the perspective of physician-researchers, experiences in intragroup and intergroup collaborations while conducting CBPR.


      During a 2-year fellowship, a group of seven fellows received 6 months of didactic training and then spent 18 months conducting a mentored CBPR project. The CBPR project was complemented by a 2-year facilitated leadership seminar, which allowed for reflection on intragroup (among fellows) and intergroup (fellows/community members) relationships throughout the CBPR process.


      Seven core principles of CBPR were found to apply to not only intergroup but also intragroup relationships: (1) building trust, (2) finding a shared interest, (3) power-sharing, (4) fostering co-learning and capacity building among partners, (5) building on existing strengths, (6) employing an iterative process, and (7) finding a balance between research and action for the mutual benefit of all partners.


      Establishing and maintaining relationships is at the core of CBPR. The development of intragroup relationships paralleled the development of intergroup relationships with community members. Applying the core principles of CBPR to the development of intragroup relationships provided experience that may have enhanced relationships with community partners. An a priori acknowledgement of the importance of relationships and the time needed to develop and manage those relationships may add to the CBPR training experience and assist in successfully executing collaborative projects.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Green L.W.
        • George M.A.
        • Daniel M.
        Study of participatory research in health promotion.
        Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa1994
      1. Kellogg Health Scholars Program Community Track: background and history.
      2. Aungst J. Haas A. Ommaya A. Green L.W. Exploring challenges, progress, and new models for engaging the public in the clinical research enterprise: clinical research roundtable workshop summary Based on a Workshop of the Clinical Research Roundtable. IOM, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC2003
        • Gebbie K.
        • Rosenstock L.
        • Hernandez L.M.
        Who will keep the public healthy?.
        IOM, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC2002
        • Israel B.A.
        • Krieger J.
        • Vlahov D.
        • et al.
        Challenges and facilitating factors in sustaining community-based participatory research partnerships: lessons learned from the Detroit, New York City and Seattle Urban Research Centers.
        J Urban Health. 2006; 83: 1022-1040
        • Minkler M.
        Community-based research partnerships: challenges and opportunities.
        J Urban Health. 2005; 82: Sii3-Sii12
        • Seifer S.D.
        • Sisco S.
        Mining the challenges of CBPR for improvements in urban health.
        J Urban Health. 2006; 83: 981-984
        • Voelker R.
        Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars mark 35 years of health services research.
        JAMA. 2007; 297: 2571-2573
      3. The Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

        • Israel B.
        • Eng E.
        • Schulz A.J.
        • Parker E.A.
        Introduction to methods in community-based participatory research for health.
        in: Israel B. Eng E. Schulz A.J. Parker E.A. Methods in community-based participatory research for health. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco2005