Research for improved health: variability and impact of structural characteristics in federally funded community engaged research.
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Although there is strong scientific, policy, and community support for community-engaged research (CEnR)-including community-based participatory research (CBPR)-the science of CEnR is still developing.To describe structural differences in federally funded CEnR projects by type of research (i.e., descriptive, intervention, or dissemination/policy change) and race/ethnicity of the population served.We identified 333 federally funded projects in 2009 that potentially involved CEnR, 294 principal investigators/project directors (PI/PD) were eligible to participate in a key informant (KI) survey from late 2011 to early 2012 that asked about partnership structure (68% response rate).The National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (19.1%), National Cancer Institute (NCI; 13.3%), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 12.6%) funded the most CEnR projects. Most were intervention projects (66.0%). Projects serving American Indian or Alaskan Native (AIAN) populations (compared with other community of color or multiple-race/unspecified) were likely to be descriptive projects (p<.01), receive less funding (p<.05), and have higher rates of written partnership agreements (p<.05), research integrity training (p<.05), approval of publications (p<.01), and data ownership (p<.01). AIAN-serving projects also reported similar rates of research productivity and greater levels of resource sharing compared with those serving multiple-race/unspecified groups.There is clear variability in the structure of CEnR projects with future research needed to determine the impact of this variability on partnering processes and outcomes. In addition, projects in AIAN communities receive lower levels of funding yet still have comparable research productivity to those projects in other racial/ethnic communities.