Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a central part to what UM CREW is doing at the University of Mississippi (UM). CBPR is a collaborative research process that meaningfully integrates community members with the goal of igniting social change. A big component of CBPR is the community partnership and the focus on building equal relationships between researchers and community members. By involving community members in the development of research that will take place in their own community, CBPR empowers communities to make a difference and address issues within the community that are particularly important to them.
Despite the numerous benefits of CBPR, there are several barriers to engaging in CBPR at universities. Researchers frequently say that they lack the time or university support to do CBPR and develop the community relationships that lead to meaningful community participation. Additionally, community leaders say that a lack of trust as well as racism and classism are barriers to CBPR. Both researchers and community leaders agree: money and trust are the greatest factors leading to success for CBPR. Assessing the barriers and positive factors for successful engagement in CBPR at UM are central to our goal at UM CREW.
At UM CREW, we are currently working to assess the CBPR resources that already exist at UM and what resources are still needed. We will be administering a survey to faculty and research staff that will begin to collect some of this data just before the fall semester. Using this information, we want to create new resources, as well as direct researchers to valuable resources that already exist. By doing this, we can help promote CBPR at the University and empower researchers and communities to make a difference in Mississippi communities. I am excited to continue my work with CBPR with UM CREW and help improve CBPR resources at UM and engage Mississippi communities.