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Being part of something: transformative outcomes of a community-based participatory study.



Calls for public health practices, including research, to better integrate social theories of power, agency, and social change suggest that increased reflexivity about both the process and outcomes of community engagement is warranted. Yet few community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects specifically report nonresearch outcomes of such projects. The authors analyzed "secondary outcomes" of Protecting the 'Hood Against Tobacco (PHAT), a CBPR project conducted in San Francisco, California.


Interpretive analysis of quasi-ethnographic project documentation, including meeting minutes, field notes, retrospective observations, and interviews.


PHAT participation created "ripple effects," encouraging healthier behaviors and public health promotion among community research partners, prompting academics to confront power asymmetries and recognize community knowledge, and widening social networks.


CBPR benefits both communities and researchers beyond the findings of the research itself. More systematically capturing these effects, perhaps through wider use of ethnographic approaches, could help enhance understanding of CBPR's true contributions.

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