Community Based Participatory Research with Underserved Latina Women with Breast Cancer: Lessons Learned
Purpose and Method: The purpose of this community-based participatory research project was to evaluate the impact of the Nueva Vida (NV) service model over a 12 month period with respect to self-efficacy, psychological distress, and quality of life of the program participants. The study was conducted between 2008-2010. The sampling plan included recruiting 60 Latinas (30 per year) diagnosed with breast cancer from those who contacted NV over a two year period.
Results: Twice as many participants enrolled than originally expected. Data supports that NV services decreases overall distress, depression, and improvements in quality of life. Moreover, decreases in anxiety and somatization are trending toward significance. There was no change in self-efficacy.
Implications: Challenges surfaced throughout the process and have implications for social work practice and research. These included loss of participants to follow up, conflicting priorities of staff members (i.e. in addition to the research responsibilities, staff members have other duties and responsibilities making it challenging to balance regular service delivery and research related tasks), balancing service provision and research simultaneously, and designing research that allows for the provision of standard NV services while maintaining rigor in study design. Suggestions include maintaining collaboration throughout the process by scheduling regular meetings and keeping those meetings, not letting egos get in the way, being flexible (i.e. researchers open to the needs of the community and the community open to the needs of the researchers) and being mindful that everyone can learn something from listening.