American Indians (AI) suffer some of the greatest cancer-related health disparities in the United States and are some of the least likely to participate in medical research. Barriers to participation include mistrust of the medical system, limited access to care, and limited culturally-appropriate resources. Effective research programs in AI communities often rely on a collaborative network of community and academic organizations, using community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods. A strong CBPR team based in the AI community and focused on reducing their disproportionate burden of disease has developed over the past four years at the University of Kansas Medical Center, the Program in American Indian Community Health. Our partnership with community organizations has been so successful that we have now formally created an alliance of partners, including tribes, community organizations, academic institutions, and corporations/government agencies, the American Indian Health Research and Education Alliance (AIHREA). We share a long-term goal of reducing health disparities in Al communities through quality participatory research. The primary goals of the Community Engagement Core are to ensure fidelity to the principles of CBPR and to ensure the rigor and validity of the qualitative research conducted through the CPC-AIHD. Our secondary goal is to ensure dissemination of research results, both positive and negative, to the community. The Community Engagement Core will address the following specific aims: 1) To monitor research conducted within the CPC-AIHD for adherence to the principles of CBPR;2) To maintain longitudinal CABs to guide center activities;3) To create a newsletter and an interactive web site for community members and researchers to communicate, disseminate information, and aid in recruitment;4) To hold community research forums annually to bring researchers and community members together;5) To bring 4 high school students, 4 undergraduate college students, and 4 graduate/medical students into research through our youth ambassadors programs in each year;6) To provide rigorous qualitative data collection and analysis for all studies conducted in the AIHREA-CCR;and 7) To provide guidance on qualitative and formative research techniques and study design to all researchers associated with the CPC-AIHD.
The Community Engagement Core for the CPC-AIHD will bring together researchers and community members to address cancer-related health disparities among Al using culturally-appropriate methods and community outreach. AI suffer some of the greatest cancer-related health disparities in the US and are among the least likely to participate in medical research due to historic issues of mistrust. Multiple researchers have identified CBPR as the appropriate method to bring Al into medical research.
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