Background: Education and training build community research capacity and have impact on improvements of health outcomes.
Objectives: This manuscript describes the training and educational approaches to building research capacity that were utilized in a community-based participatory research program serving a Puerto Rican population and identifies barriers and strategies for overcoming them.
Methods: A process evaluation identified a multitiered approach to training and education that was critical to reaching the broad community.
Results: This approach included four major categories providing a continuum of education and training opportunities: networking, methods training, on-the-job experience, and community education. Participation in these opportunities supported the development of a registry, the implementation of a survey, and two published manuscripts.
Barriers included the lack of a formal evaluation of the education and training components, language challenges that limited involvement of ethnic groups other than Puerto Ricans, and potential biases associated with the familiarity of the data collector and the participant. The CBPR process facilitated relationship development between the university and the community and incorporated the richness of the community experience into research design. Strategies for improvement include incorporating evaluation into every training and educational opportunity and developing measures to quantify research capacity at the individual and community levels.
Conclusions: Evaluating training and education in the community allows researchers to quantify the impact of CBPR on building community research capacity.