Objective: Community-based participatory research is recommended for research on health disparities and to improve uptake of clinical research findings. We describe the development of a multicenter consortium designed to support a community agency-academic partner infrastructure to support communitybased, health-services research on multiple sources of health and healthcare disparities in local communities. Design: We describe the development of the Los Angeles Community Health Improvement Collaborative (CHIC). Results: The CHIC partners examined the research capacity and health priorities of its partners and developed a research agenda focused on four tracer conditions (depression, violence, diabetes, and obesity) and four areas for development of research capacity: public participation in all phases of research; understanding community and organizational context for clinical services interventions; practical clinical services trial methods; and advancing health information technology for clinical services research. The partners pooled resources to develop these areas for the tracer conditions. Conclusions: The challenges of a participatory approach to community-based clinical services research go beyond the significant methodologic and operational issues for specific projects and include building a sustainable capacity for research, community programs, and partnership across diverse communities and stakeholder organizations even when funding sources are not fully aligned with these goals.