Advancing system and policy changes for social and racial justice: comparing a Rural and Urban Community-Based Participatory Research Partnership in the U.S.
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The paper examines the role of community-based participatory research (CBPR) within the context of social justice literature and practice.Two CBPR case studies addressing health inequities related to Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease were selected from a national cross-site study assessing effective academic-community research partnerships. One CBPR partnership works with African Americans in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri and the other CBPR partnership works with African American and Latinos in urban South Bronx, New York City. Data collection included semi-structured key informant interviews and focus groups. Analysis focused on partnerships' context/history and their use of multiple justice-oriented strategies to achieve systemic and policy changes in order to address social determinants of health in their communities.Community context and history shaped each partnership's strategies to address social determinants. Four social justice approaches (identity/recognition, procedural, distributive, and structural justice) used by both partnerships were identified. These social justice approaches were employed to address underlying causes of inequitable distribution of resources and power structures, while remaining within a scientific research framework.CBPR can bridge the role of science with civic engagement and political participation, empowering community members to become political agents who integrate evidence into their social justice organizing strategies.