BackgroundChallenges in community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships often pertain to trust and power, dilemmas posed by funding sources, and equitable community participation. Although challenges in CBPR can be welcomed because they present opportunities for growth and development of partnerships, tools are needed to facilitate issue identification and resolution. Moreover, such tools need to align with CBPR principles involving equal feedback among partners to improve the partnership and its outcomes.
ObjectiveTo describe how appreciative inquiry (AI) was used as an evaluation tool to contribute to the strengthening of empowerment of ongoing and future community-university relationships in CBPR collaborations.
MethodsAI was applied at the end of a community-university partnership to promote breast and cervical cancer screening among Tongan women in Southern California. Through individual interviews and group discussion, tensions were identified and discussed in light of partnership and community strengths.
ResultsThrough AI, program staff emphasized community and university strengths of shared key values related to the program and aspects of program management that enabled them to contribute to successful program outcomes. They also discussed the following challenges: 1) approach of partners, 2) role definition, and 3) and time span of program development and implementation. Based on these discussions, recommendations were made to overcome current challenges and improve ongoing and future CBPR collaborations.
ConclusionsThe AI process helped the partners recommit to collaborate with each other, renewed their excitement about working together, and assisted with reclarification of their roles to inform future collaborations.