Participatory Action Research (PAR), sometimes called Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a wonderful approach to expanding knowledge toward improving community health.
When researchers and community stakeholders form partnerships to explore and address priority issues that matter most, as articulated by those who are directly affected. This is an action-based approach to change.
In any community, everyone is a stakeholder.
Health organizations, schools, local financial institutions and small business need to be thriving in order to provide the services or products that are being offered to the community in addition to promote the health and wellbeing of individuals within the organization.
People within every organization are also part of the community supporting institutions and businesses. Individuals need to be thriving enough to support community resources around them.
None of this can happen in isolation. Community members are the experts on what their community knows, understands and needs in order to thrive. No matter what an organization has to offer, if it’s not addressing the specific needs of the community according to what it’s members value, no one benefits.
When researchers and community stakeholders work together, amazing things begin to happen!
Researchers listen and learn while community members share and teach in a partnership of shared interest in the health, wellness and growth. That’s exciting!
Resulting action from these powerful partnerships reflect shared decision-making and co-governance among all community stakeholders toward health and wellness across all domains.