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Document Type

Article

Abstract

In this manuscript we explore the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to build campus-community collaborations. While these collaborations may result in mutual benefit, the process may easily be derailed as a result of complications. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of the collaboration that produced the GirlPower Photovoice Project, a project that engaged middle school girls in an exploration of the factors that both improve and impede the health of their communities. Consistent with the Photovoice method, participants used photography to document their realities and then explored the resulting images in a group setting. We share the lessons learned from this collaboration from the perspective of both the academic and the community partners. In their own voices, both partners explore those factors that made the collaboration a success and those that hindered it. These include ensuring adequate time for relationship and trust development between the partners, advocating for a more fluid and organic process from the university institutional review board, and ensuring buy-in from all community agency staff—not just the executive director. In the end, we distill suggestions for others who wish to undertake a similarly risky yet significantly rewarding and important endeavor.

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