The Development of a Community Engagement Workshop: A Community-Led Approach for Building Researcher Capacity
- Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 11, Issue 3, Fall 2017
- pp. 321-329
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Background: Although community-engaged research (CEnR) is increasingly promoted in the literature, academic programs often fail to prepare researchers for the critical, ethical, and power issues involved in CEnR. This article documents a community-created and led workshop for CEnR researchers.
Objectives: The workshop’s main objective is to increase researchers’ knowledge and felt experience of the “dos and don’ts” of CEnR in three research domains: entering the community, accommodating the realities and constraints of community-based organizations, and dissemination.
Methods: The Dos and Don’ts of Community Engagement workshop was developed and implemented by the Arkansas Prevention Research Center’s (PRC) Community Advisory Board (CAB) in partnership with faculty and staff from the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The CAB developed the workshop using a collaborative, iterative process grounded in popular education. Teaching approaches include video testimonials, reverse role-play scenarios, and group reflections and debriefings. Implementation included dry runs with CAB members, a pilot, and five workshops with UAMS faculty, dissemination to an out-of-state university, and post-assessment surveys of participants.
Conclusions: Participants’ written evaluations suggest the workshop was engaging and successfully motivated researchers to adopt new perspectives, acknowledge power imbalances across the domains, self-reflect about their role as researchers, and consider solutions to these problems. Other reported outcomes included the development of relationships leading to new CEnR projects, unanticipated learning experienced by community member participants, requests for additional workshops through UAMS’ Translational Research Institute, and development of a train-the-trainer manual and accompanying video guide.