Perceptions of Community-Based Participatory Research in the Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative: An Academic Perspective

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Nutrition and Food Systems


Kinesiology and Nutrition


Lower Mississippi Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (Delta NIRI) is an academic–community partnership between seven academic institutions and three communities in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. A range of community-based participatory methods have been used to develop sustainable nutrition intervention strategies. Focus groups were conducted with 22 faculty and staff members from the academic partners on the project to document their perceptions of community-based participatory processes in a federally funded, multi-academic–community partnership spanning a decade. Focus groups were conducted to glean insights or lessons from the experiences of academic personnel. Focus groups were transcribed and analyzed using the constant comparative method. Two researchers analyzed each transcript independently and reached consensus on the consistent themes. Participants candidly shared their experiences of working with community members to devise research plans, implement programs, and evaluate outcomes. The majority of faculty and staff members were attracted to this project by an excitement for conducting a more egalitarian and potentially more successful type of research. Yet each academic partner voiced that there was an underlying disconnect between community practices and research procedures during the project. Additional barriers to collaboration and action, located in communities and academic institutions, were described. Academic partners stressed the importance of open and ongoing communication, collective decision-making strategies, and techniques that support power sharing between all parties involved in the project. Findings from this research can inform academic–community partnerships and hopefully improve the community-based participatory research process implemented by academic institutions and communities. © 2011, Society for Public Health Education. All rights reserved.

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Health Promotion Practice





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