Marj Plumb, DrPH, MNA Plumbline  
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Community-Based Participatory Research

Marj is a leader in community-based participatory research, which involves community organizations as active partners with academically-trained researchers in the conduct of a research project. Community members and scientists work in teams to conduct research that will both benefit the community and advance scientific knowledge. The teams collaborate on each step of the research process: developing the research questions, conducting the research, analyzing the data, and spreading the word about the results.

Research involving community organizations as active participants with scientists is gaining credibility in the United States. The California Breast Cancer Research Program is a prime leader in extending this kind of research throughout the country. Marj's work as lead consultant for the program's Community Research Collaboration Awards has helped the California Breast Cancer Research Program become a national model for community-based participatory research.

Taking further leadership, the California Breast Cancer Research Program is collaborating with the nonprofit organization Commonweal on an innovative project, Community-Based Research Infrastructure for Better Science (CRIBS).  The centerpiece of CRIBS is an intensive training and technical assistance program Marj is developing and implementing for 12 collaborative teams of scientists and community members.  The teams will conduct research on the environmental causes of breast cancer and on how to lift the unequal burden on some groups of women who are more likely to get—or die from—the disease, based on characteristics such as their race/ethnicity.

Marj is also working with Dr. Barbara Cohn, a principal investigator in the Child Health and Development Studies, to ensure community-scientist partnerships on two research projects investigating the effect of the environment on women’s health.

 
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