Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 1498–1501

The Role of Community-Based Participatory Research to Inform Local Health Policy: A Case Study


DOI: 10.1007/s11606-011-1878-3

Cite this article as:
O’Brien, M.J. & Whitaker, R.C. J GEN INTERN MED (2011) 26: 1498. doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1878-3


The community of health services researchers in general internal medicine has played an important role in affecting health policy at the national and state levels. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) offers health services researchers an opportunity to identify and address health policy questions at the local level. We present the following four mechanisms by which CBPR might increase the ability of health services researchers to impact health by informing local policy. CBPR benefits community partners by allowing them to participate directly in the research process, gives academic researchers access to local data, enhances interpretation of research findings through an understanding of local context, and provides a natural infrastructure for affecting local policy through its community partners. For each of these mechanisms, we describe one example from a CBPR project conducted by one of us (M.O.). Considering the challenges and opportunities of conducting CBPR, future efforts will help describe how this emerging research paradigm can complement traditional health services research to most effectively inform health policy at multiple levels.


community-based participatory research health policy Latino health health services research health disparities 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. O’Brien
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robert C. Whitaker
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Obesity Research and EducationTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.School of Medicine, Section of General Internal MedicineTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public HealthTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Puentes de Salud ClinicPhiladelphiaUSA

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