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Evolution of collaborative methodologies for participatory action health research in Southeast LA

Raul Lejano, Professor, Planning, Policy, and Design, University of California, Irvine, Social Ecology I, Room 218G, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-7075, (949) 8249825, lejano@uci.edu, Erualdo R. Gonzalez, Urban & Regional Planning, UCI School of Social Ecology, MPAA 328, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-7075, Yuki Kidokoro, MS, Communities for a Better Environment, Communities for a Better Environment, 5610 Pacific Blvd. Suite 203, Huntington Park, CA 90255, Bahram Fazeli, Communities for a Better Environment, Communities for a Better Enviornment, 5610 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park, CA 90255, and Ross F. Conner, PhD, School of Social Ecology, Center for Community Health Research, University of California Irvine, Building SE 1, Irvine, CA 92697-7075.

Participatory action research (PAR), as envisioned by advocates from Freire and on, is meant to be a radical alternative to the expert-centered mode of health research and to allow practitioner-researchers more “thickly descriptive,” and agency-relevant knowledge about community health. Practice lends a more complex picture of PAR, and only in practice do we really learn about its evolutionary, path-dependent nature. We describe a project wherein, in the course of collaboration, we came to build a more dynamic, phenomenological model of PAR in the context of community-based health research. The Southeast LA PAR Project is a collaboration of a CBO, residents, and an university team studying aspects of health and well-being of the South East Los Angeles region. The CBE PAR Project began with a one year planning effort, based on PAR principles and the theme of environmental justice. This paper describes the model and methodologies that evolved within this collaboration multi-modal recruitment, community forums, resident and leader interviews, content analysis, and community research methods workshops) in developing a research design plan and the elements that contributed its evolution. We will discuss our model of the evolutionary nature of PAR. One key insight is the crucial element of institutional design –in itself, the principles of PAR are not realizable without a suitably well-thought and grounded institutional strategy. Finally, we will discuss implications for other PAR planning efforts, especially for Latino communities, and for the development of community based organization and university capacity building for such planning.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Participatory Action Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Working on a grant with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE)

Partnerships for Improving Health Services

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA