Community-driven Epidemiologic Research: Guiding Principles

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  • Increasingly, public health research standards call for engaging communities who live with health issues under investigation to help ensure that results translate into effective public health measures. Here, we share guiding principles for community-driven epidemiologic research developed over a decade conducting research sought and controlled by participating communities. These principles provide a roadmap for epidemiologic research that effectively addresses community priorities while meeting academic standards: research questions are developed collaboratively in community-university partnerships; knowledge takes shape from information donated by participants through methods that turn information into scientifically useful data and analysis that reveals data patterns that address research questions; thus, knowledge is generated collaboratively by academic researchers and community partners; academic researchers are bound by ethical, professional, scientific, contractual, and other legal standards to be responsible stewards of information donated by participants; community review protocols ensure that interpretation and presentation of research results reflects the voices of all partners; meaningful community review creates the trust needed for open access to research results as required of academic researchers; all partners share credit for achievements. Lacking models for operationalizing these principles, we developed specific guidelines for research project initiation, data use, authorship, acknowledgment, and data dissemination. Conventions in academia present formidable challenges to effective community engagement and are often at odds with calls from community organizations and funding agencies to conduct research driven by community priorities and values. We hope others can benefit from time and effort we have spent crafting solutions that bridge this divide.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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