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Engaged Scholarship Initiative Fall Workshop

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

“Conceptual Models, Collaboration, and Student Involvement in Community-Based Participatory Research: An Example from Research with Immigrant Farmworkers on Pesticide Exposure.”

Dr. Thomas A. Arcury is a Professor and Vice Chair for Research with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Director of the Program in Community Engagement and Implementation of the WFU Translational Science Institute, and Director of the Center for Worker Health.

Dr. Arcury (PhD, University of Kentucky) is a medical anthropologist and public health scientist with a research program focused on improving the health of rural and minority populations. Since 1996, he has collaborated in a program of community-based participatory research with immigrant farmworkers and poultry processing workers and their families focused on occupational and environmental health and justice. He has authored over 250 refereed articles, and he is the co-editor of a volume on the health, safety, and justice of farmworkers in the eastern United States. He has participated in the in the development of diverse educational materials intended to return research results to immigrant worker communities. He has also used research results to affect policy change.

Workshop Overview

Dr. Arcury touched on a number of thought-provoking ideas connected with community based participatory research. He began by introducing four areas of concentration when working with community members: participation, personal experiences, empowerment, and action. He went on to describe a tri-fold conceptual model for undertaking a community based participatory research project. The first component is Identifying Community Needs, information that can be obtained from community-based organizations, advisory boards and committees, and from conducting exploratory research. The next component is Focused Research, which requires rigorous methods, community involvement, as well as stakeholder involvement. The third component is Translation: how to report findings to participants, develop community education materials, and enact policy change.

Community based participatory research thrives on effective partnerships between communities and university affiliates, a long-term commitment that includes multi-modes of participation from the stakeholders. These projects are working toward eventual action and change in the participating community and advancing knowledge in the academic discipline

Two case studies were presented during the workshop and served as a platform for open discussion and the following core questions:

  • How would you structure your CBPR project?
  • Who are the principal investigator and/or who are the co-investigators on the project?
  • Who should we partner with on this project (colleagues, community organizations, community members, etc.)?
  • What modes of participation are made available to different community segments and stakeholders?

The workshop ended with Dr. Arcury sharing an educational video about safely preventing and removing household pests that resulted from his work and research with immigrant worker communities. This was one of many examples of practical educational materials for immigrant children and families that have been funded by various grants that supplement his research.

Why is Engaged Scholarship So Important?

Put simply-this is innovative academic research. Engaged Scholarship allows you to connect your expertise and passion with public engagement in a way that advances the knowledge in your academic discipline, incorporate undergraduate and graduate students in research methods, and strengthens the community.

The Engaged Scholarship Initiative workshops are open to Wake Forest faculty and graduate students from all academic disciplines. For more information about spring workshops and department resources, visit: