Community Based Research - SoLaHmo
West Side’s Commitment to Community Based Research:
West Side Community Health Services is committed to strengthening the well-being of our community through health care for all. We uphold the values of Justice, Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence, and envision a community in which all people have access to exceptional, comprehensive health care and are living healthy lives. Among West Side’s four major areas of focus are Community Health and Community Outreach. Our focus on Community Health involves improving the health of our community by advocating for the people we serve and leading community efforts to address the endemic health issues. Through Community Engagement, we position West Side as a trusted partner in improving the health of underserved populations. To that end, we are actively engaged in research that benefits our patient population and, whenever possible, engages members of the communities we serve in the research process.
In particular, we are committed to community engagement in research that utilizes a Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) approach to design and implement research on topics that are important to the communities we serve, and that leads to programs that are meaningful and useful to our patients and their communities.
West Side welcomes invitations to partner on community-based research projects that enhance our ability to serve our patients, and that provide either direct or long-term benefit to our patients and their communities.
Community Based Participatory Action Research CBPAR:
CBPAR is both a research process and a community engagement process. As a research process, community members, health care professionals, and academic researchers work together in collaborative, non-hierarchical partnerships to identify relevant health topics that could benefit from collection of information; design a research process to collect relevant and reliable information; collect and analyze the data; and then communicate the results to the community. The research findings can then be used to design health-improvement projects that build on people’s cultural strengths, are attuned to the community’s needs, and are more effective than programs designed and implemented without community input.
As a community engagement process, CBPAR can actively engage community and lead to action and change via several mechanisms.
- CBPAR research techniques are skills that community members can use to identify information that is relevant to the health of their community.
- CBPAR collaborative and non-hierarchical processes foster social network connections that can support effective action.
- CBPAR connects knowledge with change because the goal of producing the knowledge is to produce action.
As Randy Stoecker, a University of Toronto Sociologist, wrote, “CBPAR is not a research project. It is a social change project of which the research is one piece. As such, it has three goals: learn relevant knowledge and skills; develop relationships of solidarity; and engage in action that wins victories and builds self-sufficiency. Doing research is not, in itself, a goal. Research is only a method to achieve these broader goals” (Stoecker 2007).
The CBPAR approach has been shown to be effective in community health promotions and in efforts to identify community health indicators and social determinants of health. It can produce information that is more valid and reliable than what might be ascertained by other methods and that is more relevant to people’s lives and can be used to create programs and interventions that will produce results.
The Somali, Latino and Hmong Partnership for Health and Wellness (SoLaHmo)
Hmong, Latino, and Somali community members and West Side have been working in a community engagement and CBPAR research process since 2007. The resulting effort, “SoLaHmo Partnership for Health and Wellness: Caafimad – Salud- Kev Nyob Zoo” was created in 2009.
If you have questions about Community Based Research at West Side or would like to inquire about forming a research partnership with West Side, please email:
Shannon Pergament, Research Program Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.