CBPR, community-based participatory research, community engagement



  1. Dickson, Elizabeth
  2. Magarati, Maya
  3. Boursaw, Blake
  4. Oetzel, John
  5. Devia, Carlos
  6. Ortiz, Kasim
  7. Wallerstein, Nina


Background: As federal research funding focuses more on academic/community collaborations to address health inequities, it is important to understand characteristics of these partnerships and how they work to achieve health equity outcomes.


Objectives: This study built on previous National Institutes of Health-funded research to (a) describe partnership characteristics and processes of federally funded, community-based participatory research (CBPR) or community-engaged research projects; (b) explore characteristics of these projects by stage of funding; and (c) build on previous understanding of partnership promising practices.


Methods: Between fall 2016 and spring 2017, we completed a cross-sectional analysis and principal component analysis of online survey data from key informants of federally funded CBPR and community-engaged research projects. Respondents for 179 projects (53% response rate) described project characteristics (e.g., type of partner, stage of partnership, and population) and the use of promising practices (e.g., stewardship, advisory board roles, training topics) by stage of partnership.


Results: Projects involved community, healthcare, and government partners, with 49% of respondents reporting their project was in the early stage of funding. More projects focused on Black/African American populations, whereas principal investigators were mostly White. The more established a partnership (e.g., with multiple projects), the more likely it employed the promising practices of stewardship (i.e., community safeguards for approval), community advisory boards, and training on values and power.


Conclusions: Community engagement is a developmental process with differences between early-stage and established CBPR partnerships. Engaging in active reflection and adopting promising partnering practices are important for CBPR partnerships working to improve health equity. The data provided in this study provide key indicators for reflection.