A look at anti-racism and community-based participatory research principles

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University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers recently published an essay in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) examining the synergies between the principles of anti-racism and community-based participatory research (CBPR). The essay also highlights the challenges and opportunities health research institutions face when trying to reduce health disparities caused by racial inequities.

“If we are serious as researchers about our work contributing to racial equity, we need to think seriously about not just what we research but also how we conduct research. The principles of community-based participatory research offers researchers and research institutions an opportunity to partner equitably with racially marginalized communities and help disrupt hierarchies that are often part of typical research approaches,” said Paul Fleming, assistant professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at Michigan Public Health and co-author of the essay. “But, these approaches ultimately need support from research universities and funders to be sustainable.”

“We have to be clear about what anti-racism is and what it can do. Its power is in disruption”, adds co-author Melissa Creary, assistant professor of Health Management and Policy. “How might research institutions and funders contribute to the disruption of the status quo of how we normally do research? How can they contribute to a transformational shift? Anti-racism principles and CBPR principles are clear that if we want health equity and justice, we need research-based transformation to be led by the communities with the most need, usually those who have been historically marginalized.”

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