A study published in a supplement to the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health reported that training local leaders in research practices, especially human subjects protections, while engaging them in research improved university-community relationships, strengthened the ability of local organizations to seek additional funding through grants and conduct independent research, and diminished negative perceptions of researchers within immigrant populations.
“Our goal was to add to the existing research skills of our community partners and provide them with additional tools for independent research,” says lead author Raymond Hyatt, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Hyatt and his colleagues worked closely with local leaders to design an occupational health assessment for immigrant workers in Somerville, Massachusetts. The research included community partners in survey preparation and implementation, plans for data analysis, and interpretation of results. The academic and community partners trained bilingual teen educators to conduct the surveys within the immigrant population as a way to build trust and lessen cultural barriers.
Noting the unique risks to the immigrant population associated with participation in an occupational health study, including risks to undocumented individuals, risks of legal action for employees and employers who may not have proper safety procedures, and risk of alienation from peers; the researchers were careful to follow Tufts’ Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures to protect all participants.
“At times, the rigorous university procedures around protocol review and informed consent were frustrating and even confusing to community organizations who work closely and regularly within this population,” says Hyatt.
Seeking to bridge the gap between researchers and community leaders, Hyatt and colleagues implemented a three-pronged intervention promoting education, training, and dialogue in the area of human subjects protection. The team worked with community leaders to share historical examples of experimentation on vulnerable populations and examples of how their own research had benefited from IRB policy. The academic researchers also had success in bringing a Tufts IRB administrator to meet face-to-face with community partners. The meeting promoted greater understanding of the IRB process and reinforced the shared goal of protecting participants.
“It is encouraging to see such positive results stem from our efforts to bring together university researchers, IRB administrators, and members of the community,” says Hyatt. “The community benefits as local leaders gain the skills needed to be more successful in writing grants and conducting their own research, and the university benefits as the community grows more involved and accepting of the research process.”
“We have already seen an improvement in the strength of our grant applications. Our experience with the IRB reinforces our commitment to the protection of our communities as they participate in research projects. We will use this experience to help secure more funding for local initiatives,” says Alex Pirie, head of the Somerville Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health.
Hyatt and colleagues recommend involving community partners with the IRB as early as possible to promote greater understanding and facilitate cooperation in community-based research projects. They encourage researchers to share personal experiences involving the IRB to help bring the process to life, and they suggest constant communication between community partners, researchers, and the IRB.
The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the National Institutes of Health.
Hyatt RR, Gute DM, Pirie A, Page H, Vasquez I, and Dalembert F. American Journal of Public Health. (Nov. 2009); vol. 99 (S3): S526-S531. “Transferring knowledge about human subjects protections and the role of institutional review boards in a community-based participatory research project.”About Tufts University School of Medicine
If you are a member of the media interested in learning more about this topic, or speaking with a faculty member at the Tufts University School of Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, or another Tufts health sciences researcher, please contact Andrea Grossman at 617-636-3728 or, for this study, Lindsay Peterson at 617-636-2789.
Andrea Grossman or Lindsay Peterson may be reached via the following e-mail addresses: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Grossman | Newswise Science News
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy