CBPR in indian country: Tensions and implications for health communication

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


There is a common perspective among public health researchers and community members that although health promotion or disease prevention practices, programs, and projects should be done with rather than to individuals and communities, for various practical, economic, political, and cultural reasons, this is easier said than done. This study examines community-based participatory research (CBPR) in a university-based research center conducting health promotion and disease prevention research in Indian Country. This article reviews the tensions between CBPR ideologies, its practical application in Indian Country, and the impact of this theory/practice dialectic on the ability to conduct health promotion and disease prevention research. It concludes that far from empowering individuals and communities, status quo research in Indian Country perpetuates a type of "clientism" that reinforces researcher/researched relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of New Mexico (CHPDP) is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The mission of CHPDP is “to address the health promotion and disease prevention needs of New Mexican communities through participatory, science-based, health promotion and disease prevention research” (UNM DPPS, n.d.). CHPDP sprang from a 1973 project to develop a model for health screening in elementary schools in the “Checkerboard Area” of New Mexico. Nearly 2,000 AI children received previously unavailable health screening and referral services, and local community members were trained as health paraprofessionals to conduct screening activities. Two key aspects of the project led to the beginning of CHPDP’s participatory approach to research: Its development was based on requests from local schools and communities, and many locally trained paraprofessionals continued careers in health education, often collaborating with CHPDP in subsequent projects. Local involvement in setting the community health agenda, coupled with the growing community capacity to partner in future health interventions, led to a situation amenable to collaboration between CHPDP and the communities.

FundersFunder number
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


    Dive into the research topics of 'CBPR in indian country: Tensions and implications for health communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this