Though much evidence exists of health disparities within minority and other marginalized populations, the real challenge lies ahead?to develop, implement, and sustain effective strategies to eliminate health and social disparities within these diverse populations, and within often resource-poor settings. Community engaged research represents a transformative research approach to create necessary bridges between academics and communities (providers, other health care professionals, policy makers and community members and organizations) to translate science into multilevel practices that influence individual health behaviors, organizations and practice systems, community and cultural norms, policies, and, ultimately, improved population health equity and health status. This Community Engagement Core (CEC) therefore aims to build partnerships dedicated to research on health disparities, between UNM investigators and community residents in Native American and Hispanic communities suffering disparities.
The specific aims are to: 1) create multi-directional authentic partnerships between academic researchers and community constituencies (clinicians/providers, policy makers and community members and organizations) to mutually identify a continually evolving disparities research agenda based on the priorities of Native and Hispanic communities in New Mexico;2) promote UNM researcher reflection and organizational assessment of barriers and facilitators to community engagement and to develop action strategies and best practices for enhancing community trust and university-community partnerships;3) develop co-learning and mentoring opportunities through a cohort of "intercultural health disparity scholars" and summer co-learning institutes aimed at: facilitating cross-cultural dialogue, understanding of CBPR methodologies, and capacity-building to bridge indigenous cultural knowledge and practices with empirically supported theories and interventions;and 4) translate and co-disseminate findings with our community partners to enact practice, program, and policy interventions in order to reduce health disparities and improve health equity. The CEC specific aims are built on a commitment to community based participatory research, intercultural and decolonizing research methodologies that embrace indigenous world views and rebuild community trust in research;and on supporting translational interventions that address the multi-level risk and protective factors of the Center conceptual model using empirically-effective and culturally-centered strategies to reduce disparities.
Using a community-based participatory research approach with community constituents (clinicians/providers, Hispanic and Native community members and organizations, state, county, border, local, and tribal policy makers) will address three of the P20 RFA foci area: 1) accessing and build public trust;2) training of community constituents (i.e. lay health workers, clinicians);and 3) engaging the community as partners in the conduct of research that informs effective health disparity interventions.
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