Beyond incentives for involvement to compensation for consultants: Increasing equity in CBPR approaches

Kristin Z. Black, Christina Yongue Hardy, Molly De Marco, Alice S. Ammerman, Giselle Corbie-Smith, Barbara Council, Danny Ellis, Eugenia Eng, Barbara Harris, Melvin Jackson, Jimmy Jean-Baptiste, William Kearney, Mac Legerton, Donald Parker, Mysha Wynn, Alexandra Lightfoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Community-based participatory research (CBPR) strives for equitable collaboration among community and academic partners throughout the research process. To build the capacity of academia to function as effective research partners with communities, the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)'s Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA), developed a community engagement consulting model. This new model harnesses the expertise of community partners with CBPR experience and compensates them equitably to provide technical assistance to community- academic research partnerships. Objectives: This paper describes approaches to valuing community expertise, the importance of equitable compensation for community partners, the impact on the community partners, opportunities for institutional change, and the constraints faced in model implementation. Methods: Community Experts (CEs) are independent contractor consultants. CEs were interviewed to evaluate their satisfaction with their engagement and compensation for their work. Lessons Learned: (1) CEs have knowledge, power, and credibility to push for systems change. (2) Changes were needed within the university to facilitate successful consultation to community-academic partnerships. (3) Sustaining the CE role requires staff support, continued compensation, increased opportunities for engagement, and careful consideration of position demands. (4) The role provides benefits beyond financial compensation. (5) Opportunities to gather deepened relationships within the partnership and built collective knowledge that strengthened the project. Conclusions: Leveraging CE expertise and compensating them for their role benefits both university and community. Creating a place for community expertise within academia is an important step toward equitably including the community in research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical and Translational Science Award
  • Community engagement
  • Community participation
  • Community-academic partnerships
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Consultants
  • Health disparities
  • Organizational change
  • Pay equity
  • Social change


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