150596 Project GRACE: Building and sustaining effective CBPR partnerships to address HIV disparities

Monday, November 5, 2007: 10:30 AM

Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, MSc , TraCS Community Engagement Core, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Melvin Muhammad, AA , Community Enrichment Organization, Tarboro, NC
Connie Blumenthal, MPH , Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Selena Youmans, BA , Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Doris Stith, BA , Community Enrichment Organization, Tarboro, NC
Arlinda Ellison, MS , Edgecombe County Health Department, Tarboro, NC
Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH , Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Stacey W. Lloyd, BS , Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Dionne M. Smith, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Washington, DC
Mysha Wynn, MA , Project Momentum, Inc., Rocky Mount, NC
Barbara Council , Community Enrichment Organization, Oak City, NC
Stacey Henderson, MEd , Educational, Research, & Technical Consultant, Project GRACE, Rocky Mount, NC
Issues: The Project GRACE Consortium (Growing, Reaching, Advocating for Change and Empowerment), a community-based participatory research (CBPR) collaboration, focuses on reducing the spread of HIV in African American communities. We describe the approach used in our partnership development as part of a planning project grant.

Description: Project GRACE uses a planned approach to partnership development: 1) initial mobilization - Central to the CBPR process is identifying and engaging key community members to ensure balanced representation of community perspectives; 2) establishment of organizational structure- A Steering Committee comprised of academic and community members drives the research, manages and conducts project related activities, emphasizing equal partnership, collective decision-making, and active participation; 3) capacity building for action- To raise individual and group skill level and strengthen capacity, members have participated in workshops on addressing “-isms” (e.g. sexism, racism, classism) and coalition building; and 4) planning for action- We use focus groups and key informant interviews to identify community needs, assets, goals, and to plan intervention implementation.

Lessons Learned: The approach adopted by Project GRACE resulted in effective engagement of community members. Consortium membership has increased from 15 to 57 members, with representation from over 35 community agencies. Eighty-two percent of steering committee members either reside or work in the two counties. Community members currently chair 5 of the 6 working committees, including the research design committee.

Recommendations: Planned and thoughtful approaches to CBPR can result in active participation by a range of stakeholders to address disparities in communities of color.

Learning Objectives:
Describe an effective approach to identify and engage community stakeholders. Identify strategies for co-learning to strengthen capacity for academic-community partnerships. Understand the importance of building an organizational structure that empowers all members to become full partners in the research conducted.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.