Learning Objectives

  • Understand the context, background, and purpose of the curriculum

  • Identify how the curriculum can be used, with whom, and in what situations

Rationale and motivation for developing the curriculum
Curriculum overview, goals and objectives
Intended audience
Suggestions for using curriculum
Arranging a training based on the curriculum
About the curriculum authors
Ordering information
Proper citation
Contact Us

Rationale and motivation for the developing the curriculum

National organizations, funding agencies, researchers and communities are increasingly calling for an approach to health research that recognizes the importance of social, political and economic systems to health behaviors and outcomes. This focus is due to many converging factors, including our increased understanding of the complex issues that affect health, the importance of prevention to public health, the role for both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and the need to translate research findings into changes in practice and policy. Evidence is mounting that participatory models of research, in which communities are engaged as partners in the research process, are effective in bridging the gap that often exists between research and public health practice. Indeed, these models are essential to achieving the nation’s health research agenda.

As interest in CBPR and funding available to support CBPR grows, there is a growing need and demand for educational resources that help build the knowledge and skills needed to develop and sustain effective CBPR partnerships. This curriculum seeks to address this need and demand.

Curriculum overview, goals and objectives

Developing and Sustaining Community-Based Participatory Research Partnerships: A Skill-Building Curriculum presents an opportunity to explore the practice of CBPR as an innovative approach for improving health. The curriculum intends to foster critical thinking and action on issues impacting CBPR and community-institutional partnerships. The curriculum is built upon a combination of experiential and didactic approaches to teaching and learning. Through clearly presented content, examples and exercises that stimulate new ways of thinking “outside of the box,” you will:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the basic principles of CBPR and strategies for applying them

  • Understand the key steps involved in developing and sustaining CBPR partnerships

  • Identify common challenges faced by CBPR partnerships and suggested strategies and resources for overcoming them

  • Develop and enhance skills for all partners that will enhance their capacity for supporting and sustaining authentic CBPR partnerships

The curriculum includes seven units. Each unit contains:

  • Learning objectives

  • In-depth content information about the topic(s) being presented

  • Examples and interactive exercises that are designed to trigger discussion and to help better understand the concepts being presented

  • Citations and suggested resources, selected based on their relevance and usefulness to the unit’s learning objectives

The focus of the curriculum is on developing and sustaining CBPR partnerships. It does not include substantive content on methods for conducting the actual research (i.e., the benefits and limitations of different study designs, methods for collecting and analyzing data). Appendix C provides a list of journal articles and books that can enhance your understanding in these areas.

Intended audience

The curriculum is intended as a tool for use by community-institutional partnerships that are using or planning to use a CBPR approach to improving health. It can be used by partnerships that are just forming as well as existing partnerships. It is intended for use by health professions faculty and researchers, students and post-doctoral fellows, staff of community-based organizations, and staff of public health agencies at all skill levels.

Suggestions for using the curriculum

Developing a CBPR partnership is a dynamic process. Partnerships may want to use the curriculum from their inception, or use specific sections that address specific challenges the partnership is currently facing. The curriculum may be used:

  • In the early stages of developing a partnership to...

  • Orient partners to CBPR

  • Stimulate conversations around key questions and issues as the partnership is forming

  • Establish principles, policies and procedures that lay the foundation of a successful partnership

  • Within a partnership to...

  • Work through concerns or challenges and develop locally relevant solutions

  • Assess the extent to which the partnership has embraced CBPR

  • Orient new partners to CBPR

  • In classroom discussions on CBPR

  • In training workshops with “mixed audiences” of community, academic and health department representatives

The units and sections can be reviewed in any order, but we do recommend starting with Unit 1 since it provides a foundation for the rest of the curriculum.   Individual units and appendices can be printed as PDF files, as can individual tables, figures, examples and exercises.  We hope this will help facilitate the ability to incorporate portions of the curriculum into partnership meetings, classroom discussions, training workshops and other relevant settings.

Examples, exercises and sample policies are featured throughout the curriculum.  None will be applicable to all partnerships. Since the curriculum is intended to appeal to a broad audience, we encourage adapting or extrapolating from the information presented.

We welcome and encourage your comments and suggestions on the curriculum. We would also like to learn how you have used the curriculum and how it may have contributed to your understanding and practice of CBPR. Our hope is that the curriculum will serve as a valued resource, continually improved over time. To share your thoughts with us, please take a few minutes to respond to an anonymous feedback survey by clicking here.

Arranging a training based on the curriculum

Periodically, training workshops are offered based on the curriculum. Upcoming opportunities are listed on the curriculum homepage.

It is also possible to arrange customized delivery of the curriculum by the authors and other members of the CCPH Consultancy Network who are skilled in CBPR. For more information, contact Community-Campus Partnerships for Health by email: [email protected] or call (206) 666-3406.

About the curriculum authors

The material and information presented in this curriculum are based on the work of the Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Group that emerged from the Examining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Project.

Information is drawn from the experiences and materials of project partners, as well as other print and electronic sources.  In some cases, portions of existing materials were adapted or modified to address the goals of the curriculum.  When applicable, permission has been granted by the authors or copyright holders.

The Examining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Project ran from October 2002 through December 2005 with funding from the Prevention Research Center Program Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health.

The project aimed to identify and synthesize what is known about community-institutional collaborations in prevention research and develop and evaluate strategies to foster community and institutional capacity for participatory research at national and local levels. The project's ultimate goal was to facilitate approaches for effectively translating community interventions in public health and prevention into widespread practice at the community level.

These nine organizations, represented currently by the individuals named, participated as partners in the project.  See Appendix A for descriptions of these organizations.

Community-Based Public Health Caucus of the American Public Health Association
Represented by: Renee Bayer and Adele Amodeo

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
Represented by: Sarena D. Seifer, Kristine Wong and Annika Robbins Sgambelluri

Community Health Scholars Program
Represented by: Diane Calleson and Renee Bayer

Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center
Represented by: Barbara Israel and Robert McGranaghan

Harlem Community & Academic Partnership
Represented by: Princess Fortin and Ann-Gel Palermo

National Community Committee of the CDC Prevention Research Centers
Represented by: Ella Greene-Moton and E. Yvonne Lewis

Seattle Partners for Healthy Communities
Represented by: Kristen Senturia, Alison Eisinger and Gary Tang

Wellesley Institute
Represented by: Sarah Flicker

Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center
Represented by: Kari Hartwig and Maurice Williams

Project reports, presentations and other products are available on the project website at

During the first year of the project (2002-2003), the project partners collaborated to examine and synthesize existing data on successful characteristics of community partnerships for prevention research. The first year’s activities yielded a report that:

  • Defined “successful community-institutional collaborations in prevention research”

  • Identified factors that facilitate and impede these successful relationships and outcomes

  • Presented recommendations and strategies that could build the capacity of communities, institutions and funding agencies to engage in successful community-institutional partnerships for prevention research

During the second year of the project (2003-2004), the project partners created two working groups which designed and implemented specific strategies for building community and institutional capacity for participatory approaches to prevention research:

  • The Policy Working Group, chaired by Adele Amodeo, worked to implement policy recommendations by collaborating with funding agencies to support partnership infrastructure, assess partnerships in proposals and design peer review processes

  • The Training Working Group, chaired by Robert McGranaghan developed and tested a training curriculum for partnerships on developing and sustaining CBPR partnerships

During the third year of the project (2004-2005), the project partners completed a curriculum for Developing and Sustaining CBPR Partnerships and pilot-tested it through a 4-day intensive training institute for partnership teams held in August 2005.   Portions of the curriculum were offered in a variety of formats, including a pre-conference workshop at the 2004 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health conference and a half-day continuing education institute at the 2005 American Public Health Association conference. 

The version of the curriculum you see here is the product of multiple rounds of review by project partners, incorporating feedback from participants.   Project partners took the lead on authoring and editing each section of the curriculum as indicated in the table of contents.


During the process of the curriculum’s development, many people and organizations committed their time, comments and technical expertise.   In addition to the project partners and curriculum authors mentioned above, they include:

Eduardo Simoes, Lynda Anderson, Sharrice White and Robert Hancock of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for enthusiastically supporting the project every step of the way.

Sandro Galea, Michael Reece and Robb Travers for contributing to the early conceptualization of the curriculum as project partner representatives.

Jen Kauper-Brown for providing staff support throughout the project and editing drafts of the curriculum.

Kristine Wong for editing the final version of the curriculum.

Rick Blickstead of The Wellesley Institute for providing funds to create an online version of the curriculum.

Paul Bonsell of Defining Design for creating this visually appealing and user-friendly online version of the curriculum.

And last but definitely not least, the individuals who participated in the pilot-testing and evaluation of the curriculum.  Your feedback was invaluable!

Proper citation

We encourage you to use, adapt and link to the curriculum to suit your purposes as long as (a) it is properly cited as indicated below and (b) you let us know how you are using it by sending a quick email to [email protected]

Adding to the curriculum

In addition to encouraging your comments and suggestions on the curriculum, we also welcome submissions of content to be incorporated into the curriculum. For example, perhaps you have created a new case example or exercise, or written a new section that enhances one of the units. Please email such submissions to [email protected] for consideration by the original authors of the curriculum.

The proper citation for the curriculum is: The Examining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Group. Developing and Sustaining Community-Based Participatory Research Partnerships: A Skill-Building Curriculum.  2006.

When citing information from specific units, the authors of those units should be included in the citation.  For example: Hartwig K, Calleson D and Williams M.  Unit 1: Community-Based Participatory Research: Getting Grounded.  In: The Examining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Group.  Developing and Sustaining Community-Based Participatory Research Partnerships: A Skill-Building Curriculum. 2006.

Contact Us

For more information on the curriculum, or to contact any of the authors, email [email protected] or call (206) 666-3406.

To arrange a customized training based on the curriculum, click here