Case Study in Chamorro Community and Academic Engagement for a Community-Partnered Research Approach
Objective: We describe the development of a community and academic research partnership, share reflections on processes for collaborations, and identify key factors for establishing strong and effective relationships to foster high-quality research. Background: A community-based participatory research (CBPR) effort evaluating a community-based patient navigation program assisting Chamorro women to access breast cancer services in Southern California served as the foundation for the development of the community-academic partnership. Methods: Using a CBPR approach focusing on active involvement of community members, organizational representatives, and academic researchers in all aspects of research process, faculty from a research university and a local community-based organization were brought together to build a partnership. Community and academic partners engaged in a series of meetings where dialogue focused on developing and nurturing trust and shared values, respect for community knowledge, and establishing community-defined and prioritized needs and goals. Partners have also focused on defining and developing explicit structures and policies to implement an equal partnership. Results: Experiences and lessons learned are shared, reflecting the processes of relationship building, and planning and implementing preliminary research steps. Lessons Learned: Adequate time for relationship-building, open and honest communication, flexibility, and ongoing examination of assumptions are keys to developing successful CBPR partnerships.