Rebecca Rae talks about the importance of community in research

Evaluation Lab News

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 - 12:00am

In community-based participatory research (CBPR), community members are involved in all aspects of the research project, including choosing the research question, collecting the data, and interpreting results. And unlike most academic projects, CBPR has the goal of balancing research with action.

Rebecca Rae, the Associate Director of Native Tribal Participatory Research Programs at UNM’s Center for Participatory Research, shared these ideas with Evaluation Lab students and emphasized the importance of community context in research, and how our understanding of public health is improved when there is shared decision making with research subjects. Many communities distrust academic research because it has been used to justify harmful policies, including forcing Native children to attend boarding schools for the purpose of purging their language and culture, a practice that continued into the 1970s.

A concept directly related to Evaluation Lab work is Rae’s understanding of the essence of the CBPR approach, which is “for researchers to be more mindful about how they can affect the community.”

UNM’s Center for Participatory Research embraces the mission and principals of social justice in the College of Population Health. The center aims to develop a relationship with communities to promote in and co-create new knowledge and translate existing knowledge to improve quality of life among New Mexico’s diverse populations. In this way, the center is shifting the privilege of information from the researchers to the community involved.

For more information about the Center for Participatory Research, go to .