Document Type

Research From the Field


Community-based participatory research (CBPR) involves partnerships between academics and communities to address community priorities through collaborative research. Undergraduate student engagement in CBPR as part of an academic course is uncommon and there is limited evidence on the lessons learned about partnership initiation from course-based partnerships. This paper shares lessons from Medford and Tufts Community Health (MATCH), a course-based CBPR initiative. At the end of this course, three students, the instructor, and two community partners identified a list of four key lessons learned about partnership initiation. First, undergraduates should understand and explicitly attend to the privileges they bring to CBPR as students. Second, internal “champions,” who serve in a dual role in the community and university can provide students with important historical context to support partnership initiation. Third, students should assess and communicate what they can offer to community partners. Fourth, instructors should facilitate relationship building within student research teams. These lessons are critical for undergraduate instructors teaching CBPR courses and looking to initiate community partnerships with students.