Health  Vol.6 No.12 , June 2014
A Retrospective Analysis of the Capacity Built through a Community-Based Participatory Research Project Addressing Diabetes and Obesity in South and East Los Angeles
Abstract: Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent in low-income and minority communities. One promising method to understand and address these chronic conditions is through Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). CBPR engages and empowers community members to identify risk factors and work toward solutions as equal partners with researchers. One positive and lasting outcome may be an increase in the community capacity which includes individual and community leadership development, policy making, creating connections and utilizing existing community resources. Evaluating community capacity created as a result of a CBPR project is one way to measure its effectiveness. This paper is a retrospective analysis of the capacity built during a CBPR study of diabetes and obesity in East and South Los Angeles which are two low-income and minority neighborhoods. Four people, who were heavily involved in the project, completed a retrospective analysis of the capacity built utilizing a validated instrument. There was consensus about the capacity built, which included: excellent participation by community members, inclusion of members’ ideas to leverage additional funding, and pride of community members in their participation in the project. One area that could have been strengthened was increased access for leadership and research experience among community members, especially since the project ended prematurely. There were differences among the two community groups with East Los Angeles members focusing more on tangible interventions and grant writing, while South Los Angeles members had a greater policy focus. Communities and researchers who are embarking on a CBPR project can learn from those who have implemented the strategy. Measuring capacity built during and after the project, can be one way to understanding the contributions of a project in a community. CBPR is an empowering research methodology which, done correctly, can build community capacity and have long-term impacts on individuals and communities.
Cite this paper: Hillstrom, K. , Ruelas, V. , Peters, A. , Gedebu-Wilson, T. and Iverson, E. (2014) A Retrospective Analysis of the Capacity Built through a Community-Based Participatory Research Project Addressing Diabetes and Obesity in South and East Los Angeles. Health, 6, 1429-1435. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.612175.

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