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Community Partnerships Focus of UH ConferenceWorkshops Examine Effective Teams, Cultivating Community Relationships for Meaningful Study

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March 26, 2009-Houston-
Conducting collaborative research in the community is like getting married. The relationship is long term, so it must be nurtured, planned and communicative if the results are to be useful. It also is a constant work-in-progress.

The University of Houston Center for Public Policy (CPP) and the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics (JERHRE) are offering a one-day conference to help researchers and community members hone skills and create effective teams that can lead to significant real-world impacts.

The Community-Based Participatory Research Workshop: Challenges and Solutions for Researchers and Community Leaders is planned for Friday, April 10 at the Hilton-University of Houston-Hotel.

"Participatory research means the researcher works in long-term collaboration with a community," said CPP director Jim Granato. "That means you build a relationship, not grab the data and run.  It's different than other kinds of research."

Workshop topics include models of community engagement, challenges to community-based research, creating effective research teams and an effective community-based research, ways of engaging minority communities and dealing with sensitive subjects. In addition, participants will hear about the Framingham Heart Study, a study of cardiovascular disease that began in 1948 and is now following the third generation of the original 5,000 participants from Framingham, Mass. This research program has provided enormous benefits to the participating community as well as to all of society and cardio-vascular medicine precisely because of the outstanding community/researcher relationships that the project has cultivated over the years.

"Community-based participatory research raises many challenges for researchers, like all the extra time spent on a project without funding, a changing array of community leaders, and a community that is unsure of the researcher's motivation," said Joan Sieber, editor-in-chief of the JERHRE. "But participatory research means researchers gain a genuine sense of helping a community, earning their respect and producing work that may immediately impact public policy."

 The conference is sponsored the Center for Public Policy, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the JERHRE. For more information, visit http://www.uh.edu/cpp/cbprcprogram.htmor 713-743-3976.

For more information on the UH Center for Public Policy, visit www.uh.edu/cpp/index.htm

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