Although much attention has been paid to health disparities in the past decades, interventions to ameliorate disparities have been largely unsuccessful. One reason is that the interventions have not been culturally tailored to the disparity populations whose problems they are meant to address. Community-engaged research has been successful in improving the outcomes of racial and ethnic minority groups and thus has great potential for decreasing between-group health disparities. In this article, the authors argue that a type of community-engaged research, community-based participatory research (CBPR), is particularly useful for social workers doing health disparities research because of its flexibility and degree of community engagement. After providing an overview of community research, the authors define the parameters of CBPR, using their own work in African American and white disparities in breast cancer mortality as an example of its application. Next, they outline the inherent challenges of CBPR to academic and community partnerships. The authors end with suggestions for developing and maintaining successful community and academic partnerships.
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