Summary and Conclusions

STEVEN S. COUGHLIN, PHD

This concluding chapter provides a summary of recent trends and remaining issues and draws several major conclusions. Future directions in community-based participatory research (CBPR) are also discussed. Trends evident from the chapters in this book include the extension of CBPR into new communities and population subgroups, continued innovation and creativity in CBPR, the incorporation of CBPR approaches into dissemination and implementation research, and the adaptation of accepted principles of CBPR principles to specific cultural groups and into language that is understandable to a wide range of people. Evaluative research is needed to examine the relative costs, benefits, and effectiveness of CBPR and other types of public health research. There is a need for additional CBPR studies involving adolescents and elders who are in the oldest decades of life. When academic researchers and community partners work together, CBPR is an effective way to promote greater equity in healthcare access and alleviate health disparities in diverse communities across the life span. Continued efforts are needed to ensure that CBPR studies and evaluation projects are sustainable over time and that adequate resources are available. The incorporation of CBPR approaches into the translational sciences is a paradigm-shifting event that is likely to result in major advances in our understanding of the causes of and solutions to complex health challenges in diverse communities.

The chapters in this volume illustrate the many strengths and advantages of CBPR. Community-based participatory research explores the knowledge and perceptions of members of the local community, aligns the goals of research with community priorities, allows for the adaptation of existing resources in innovative ways, and brings together research partners who have varied skills, knowledge, and expertise to address complex health problems.1-3 The collaborative nature of CBPR provides a forum that can bridge cultural differences among the academic and community partners and help to address the lack of trust that community members may have about academic researchers or institutions.1-3

 
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