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CBPR: Extending the Use of Innovative Methodologies in the Behavioral & Social Sciences

May 2020 - January 2024

The need for the use of innovative methodologies in the behavioral and social sciences has been widely noted. Innovative and community-engaged approaches to research and interventions are essential to address social and physical environmental determinants of population health and more specifically racial and ethnic inequities in health, which aligns with NIH’s mission of uncovering new knowledge that will lead to better health for all. There is a need to enhance capacity in innovative methods for researchers conducting behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR) particularly in the context of community-engaged approaches. One such approach, community-based participatory research (CBPR), is innovative in and of itself for many researchers conducting BSSR, and there are also numerous specific innovations within the context of a CBPR approach that are particularly relevant to the mission of NIH. These include the integrated use of mixed methods (combining qualitative and quantitative data), innovative research designs that complement randomized controlled designs, methods to advance dissemination and implementation science, and methods for examining the combined influence of physical environmental and socioeconomic factors on behavioral and health outcomes. Further, there are few opportunities for both early-career and established researchers to engage in a co-learning process facilitated by experienced academic-community faculty teams. Finally, there is a need to promote the diversity of the BSSR workforce, including increasing participation of researchers from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and economically and educationally disadvantaged groups. Thus, the overarching goal of the proposed research education program renewal, Community-Based Participatory Research: Extending Capacity to Use Innovative Methodologies in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (the Extend Program), is to enhance knowledge and skills in the use of innovative methodologies in BSSR within the context of CBPR, in partnership with the communities involved, to examine and address health inequities. The Extend Program will be carried out by the Detroit Community- Academic Urban Research Center (Detroit URC), a CBPR partnership established in 1995 which aims to enhance capacity of community and academic entities to conduct and foster CBPR to promote health equity, in conjunction with Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), a national non-profit membership organization that promotes health equity through community-academic partnerships. The program includes three components: integrated educational activities for academic-community research teams involving an intensive skill development short course and mentoring and career development activities; ongoing learning and capacity-building using a train-the-trainers model and the continuation of a Community-Academic Scholars Network; and widespread national dissemination activities.

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