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Keywords

Community Based Participatory Research; Maternal Stress

Abstract

Background: The Community Child Health Network (CCHN) is a research collaborative network of five communities in the U.S. formed to study maternal and child health disparities, via a community-based participatory research study design. CCHN studies how community, family, and individual level influences interact with biological processes to affect maternal stress, resilience, and allostatic load; ultimately, the study evaluates whether such factors result in health disparities in pregnancy outcomes and infant and early childhood mortality and morbidity. The purpose of this paper is to assess the community-based participatory research (CBPR) process that governs the CCHN and offer lessons from our experiences. Methods: This study employs a qualitative approach to evaluate the CBPR process among CCHN community and academic partners. Qualitative interviews (n=17) were completed by both community and academic CCHN partners. Results: Content analysis of qualitative data revealed six major themes (1) lack of necessary resources; (2) collaborative learning; (3) perceived benefits; (4) communication and education; (5) trust and expectations; and (6) sustainability. Discussion: The benefits and challenges of implementing productive, community-academic partnerships were present both at the local site-level and the network-level. Ultimately, the inclusion of community-based participatory research principles and methods enhanced the study development, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of findings. Conclusion: Lessons learned from a multi-site CBPR project, including strategies for managing learning and communication across different geographic sites, may be useful to other CBPR and multi-site community-based research endeavors.


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