Federally qualified community health centers (FQCHCs) serve low-income underinsured, uninsured, transient, vulnerable populations. These populations have a high number of chronic conditions, including chronic pain; however, little is known about the effectiveness of interventions leading to self-management of chronic conditions in this population.
Community–academic research partnerships that utilize community-engaged research methodologies with FQCHCs are rare. Faculty at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and local FQCHC staff are committed to developing a practice-based research partnership grounded in community-based participatory research principles to address health issues with this population. We will use Seifer et al.’s 2003 model for developing infrastructure for health research—that is, selecting and establishing partnerships, developing policies and procedures to conduct research, securing financial and human resources to support research, and ensuring availability of “hard” infrastructure (e.g., meeting space, computers, electronic health records, secure data storage) for research.
This Tier A proposal will build research capacity by (1) establishing a Community Advisory Board (CAB) of FQCHC stakeholders, including patients, providers, and staff; (2) formalizing the research partnership by establishing policies and procedures to conduct team research; and (3) identifying potential health issues of concern for future comparative effectiveness research (CER) studies. Building capacity and integrating the CAB into the research partnership and processes will ensure that research questions and proposals are practical, patient centered, and relevant to health issues of concern to the FQCHCs and their patients.
Achieving these three aims will provide the necessary foundation for this community–academic research partnership to develop meaningful CER questions as the basis for a Tier B proposal.