Background: Building the collective capacity of racialized women to meaningfully lead and engage in research is critical to health equity. To address the silence and stigma related to HIV/sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among South Asian women in Canada, peer leadership and engagement were identified as important strategies to promote open discussion about sexual health.

Objectives: Underpinned by the principle of 'nothing about us without us', the objectives of the Story Sharing for Sexual Health (SSSH) research study included engaging and training South Asian women peer leaders to become an integral part of the study and build community research capacity. To achieve these objectives, it was critical to support the peer leaders in gaining a thorough understanding of the research ethics, protocols and teamwork principles, and to consolidate skills in group facilitation and community engagement.

Methods: The peer leaders attended four full-day training sessions on the social determinants of health and gender equity for racialized populations, HIV/STI and sexual health in the context of South Asian communities, community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles, skills in focus group facilitation, community partnerships building, and storytelling epistemologies. A training manual was developed. Evaluation of the training program included 1) evaluation forms, 2) process evaluations through journal writing and feedback sessions, and 3) implementation outcomes.

Conclusions: The SSSH peer research training program was effective. Peer leaders demonstrated effectiveness in liaising with partner agencies, engaging South Asian women in sexual health discussion, completing CBPR activities and team building. Knowledge generated can be applied in CBPR with other racialized women populations.


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pp. 303-319
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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