The overall goal of MT INBRE Ill's Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to foster and enhance both tribal and rural community-MT INBRE III partnerships that will mitigate health disparities through community engagement. Meeting this goal requires sustainable community collaborations, use of community-based participatory research practices (CBPR), and innovative health communications that consider relevant cultural, linguistic, and literacy needs. The CEC draws on the expertise of a team of community-academic partners who highly value the mutual goal of improved community health through engagement, dialogue, and collective problem solving. The methodological approach of this core is grounded in CBPR, fostering an environment for the production of mutually beneficial goals. Community members are cultural experts;they know what health concerns are of most concern to their communities and what strategies for addressing them may be most effective. The CEC will utilize a cyclical methodological model that entails continual leadership, input, and feedback from community members that is based on the Native or rural community being an equitable partner in the research (Baldwin, 1998 and Baldwin, et al., 1996). To realize the overall goal ofthe MT INBRE III program, the CEC will contribute to the accomplishment ofthe ofthe program's Specific Aims: 1) Strengthen Montana's biomedical and bioinformatics infrastructure through continued development of shared facilities, research collaborations, focused working groups, and training opportunities, 3) Mentor and develop health disparities investigators in the social and behavioral sciences and partner them with infectious disease and environmental health investigators to sustain and grow an interdisciplinary biomedical research network, and 4) Develop and support sustainable interdisciplinary research initiatives by MT INBRE III network investigators that will mitigate health disparities in Montana's rural and Native American communities.
MT INBRE III will foster and enhance both tribal and rural community partnerships that will mitigate health disparities through community engagement. Establishing and maintaining partnerships and involving communities as equitable partners in the research and subsequent interventoons is critical to achieving the goal of improving health in these communities.
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