247555 Developing community capacity for research: A Field School

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kathleen O'Hara, MSW , Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and Columbia University School of Social Work Doctoral Program, Orangeburg, NY
Summary Expanded capabilities and freedoms emerge when peers contribute to research on recovery. Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) routinely promises to “build capacity” on both sides of the partnership, but critical assessments of CBPR often fail to show substantial returns on the “community” side, highlighting instead a long list of benefits to the research enterprise. Besides CBPR opportunities, settings and personal support, community partners require formal/systematic training to enhance their participatory competency. . We present an interim evaluation of a pilot Field School approach which builds capacity through intensive training in research skills to user partners including exposure to models of critical thinking about community, participation, and research. Method: We developed and tested a working curriculum in basic research design and analytic methods in mental health services research, for persons of color and/or with psychiatric disabilities who have been involved with an ongoing CBPR project. in conjunction with that curriculum, we designed field exercises in research design and methods, culminating in arranged apprenticeships with ongoing projects; and we assess results using routine feedback, process evaluation, repeated interviews, and tracking employment on Center-related pilot projects and mature research applications. Results: We have found enhanced participatory capacity – voice, standing, presence – of those peers in our ongoing CBPR work who participate in the field school. We have documented the feasibility, difficulties and promise of such a combination of didactic and experiential training in basic research competencies. We track actual employment of participants as part-time research assistants.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify elements of community based participatory research through lens of the capabilities framework (Sen); 2. Assess the inclusion/exclusion culture gap between science and peer communities evident in language and organizational structures. 3. Assess what works and what needs to work better in recovery research on community inclusion;

Keywords: Community Capacity, Participatory Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Coordinator of the pilot Field School described in this paper, and a Research Associate at the Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, Nathan Kline Institute. I have collaborated with community-based participatory research teams in the United States, Latin America and Madagascar.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.