Black/African Americans, community partnership, community-based participatory research, health disparities, underrepresented populations



  1. Hirschey, Rachel
  2. Getachew, Berhan
  3. Coleman, Karia Jr.
  4. Lea, Deirdre
  5. Milner, John
  6. Bryant, Ashley L.
  7. Carlisle, Veronica


Background: Researchers who aim to serve a community (i.e., racial, gender, ethnic group) of which they are not a part must do foundational work to understand that community and build intentional, thoughtful collaborations with the community to guide their work.


Objectives: This article aims to share a case exemplar of the formation period of a community advisory board (CAB) that conducts research focused on improving health equity in the Black and African American community.


Methods: CAB development has three phases: formation, operation, and maintenance. Previous work has described and provided best practices for each phase. This article focused on the first phase, formation. Guided by critical race theory, with guidance from her mentor, a researcher partnered with a research assistant and a community health educator to develop a CAB. Details of their processes-which apply to the formation of other CABs-are presented.


Discussion: During the board formation period, the major focus has been relationship building and developing a shared mission: "To work in partnership with researchers at the University of North Carolina to reduce cancer disparities in Black/African American communities by informing research and program development. As a liaison between the community and researchers, the Community Advisory Board will identify community needs, promote evidence-based interventions and information, raise awareness about health disparities in communities, and educate researchers." CAB formation is nuanced and unique, dependent upon the nature of the research to be conducted and the characteristics of the community and researchers. This case exemplar provides valuable insights to other researchers working to build community partnerships.