Results Summary

PCORI funded the Pilot Projects to explore how to conduct and use patient-centered outcomes research in ways that can better serve patients and the healthcare community. Learn more.


Medical guidelines use words and ideas that often are not easily understood by patients. This makes it difficult for patients to choose the best treatment. The High Plains Research Network Community Advisory Council of farmers, school teachers, and other community members noted that the community did not know much about colon cancer. In response, they developed a process they named Boot Camp Translation, which translates complex cancer screening guidelines into information that is relevant to the local community.

Project Purpose

This study used the Boot Camp Translation approach with several healthcare topics in diverse communities. The research team looked at participants’ experience with Boot Camp Translation to identify the parts that participants thought were most important.


The research team trained more than 65 researchers, medical providers, and community members to be Boot Camp Translation facilitators. These facilitators led groups with more than 100 patients, 40 medical providers, 50 community members, and 25 community organization leaders in rural, urban, African-American, and Latino communities in Colorado, Oregon, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. In all, eight communities worked on projects for different healthcare topics such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

The researchers interviewed four facilitators and 10 participants from various groups to learn about their experiences with the process to identify the core features that they thought were essential to Boot Camp Translation.

The interviews focused on what worked in the Boot Camp Translation process to help researchers refine the method and improve training for future boot camp programs. The researchers asked interviewees what skills facilitators and participants need, how to keep participants engaged, and whether they were satisfied with the Boot Camp Translation process.


Each Boot Camp Translation project developed messages for their communities and strategies to share those messages.

Participants said the Boot Camp Translation process helped them translate complex medical information into common language and ideas for community members. Interview participants identified several key features of Boot Camp Translation:

  • Equally valuing every participant’s experience
  • Respecting each participant’s expertise
  • Presenting complicated medical information with enough time for people to ask questions
  • Having meetings take place over 6 to 12 months
  • Starting the process with a six- to eight-hour meeting in person, followed by other meetings and phone calls
  • Having more community members than experts, academic researchers, and facilitators take part in the groups
  • Including participants who can see beyond their own point of view
  • Working as a group to write messages, create materials, and plan ways to tell others about them

Participants said Boot Camp Translation requires skilled facilitators to help make sure the groups hear from everyone, including community members.


This study looked only at how the Boot Camp Translation process worked, not at the materials the project teams produced.


Boot Camp Translation is a way for community members to be involved in turning complex medical recommendations into messages that are relevant to the community.

Sharing the Results

The research team has presented posters, podium presentations, and workshops at local, state, national, and international health research meetings.

More About This Research

PCORI Stories

Transforming Community-Based Research on the High Plains
A narrative about a "Boot Camp Translation" project in Colorado that makes evidence-based recommendations accessible for diverse communities.


High Plains Research Network
Maret Felzein and her husband Ned Norman, discuss a campaign aimed at lowering blood pressure in Colorado.

Project Information

Donald Nease, MD^
University of Colorado Denver

Key Dates

34 months
June 2012
April 2015

Study Registration Information

^John Westfall, MD was the original principal investigator for this project. Larry Green, MD was the second principal investigator for this project.


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The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located.

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Last updated: October 20, 2021